It's election season in Russia! Duma elections are in December and the presidential election is to be held the following March 2012. This Economist article paints the current political situation pretty clearly. United Russia, the party of Vladimir Putin is expected to garner at least 60% of the parliamentary vote. The prime minister has yet to announce whether he we will run for president, but whether he does or doesn't, he is assured some influential role within the Kremlin.
Another name worth learning is Vladislav Surkov, one of Putin's men behind the scenes and "the Kremlin's chief ideologist". He was called out by Mikahil Prokhorov, the head of the Right Cause - a formerly tolerated opposition party allowed to exist to support the perception of democracy, who called him a puppeteer who privatized the political system. Surkov seems to be the Karl Rove of the Putin Era.
The election is expected to be another show designed to don the veil of democracy in Russia. There still seems to be some concern from United Russia concerning the viability of its stronghold on Russian politics - it still seems threatened by smaller liberal. However, barring unforeseen racial upheaval, (particularly from the Chechnya area), the veil remains firmly on.