While there are numerous concerns and frustrations, the Kremlin appears to be going into 2018 relatively happy with its geopolitical situation.
The big question is whether conditions for a sustained asset valuation rally in the second half and into 2019 can be put in place before the World Cup final whistle.
The Russian president wants voters to believe that the world is too dangerous, the opposition too flaky, and the job too tedious and complex to contemplate any alternative.
An attempt to detain ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili sparked a protest in Kyiv, calls for President Petro Poroshenko's impeachment and US and EU criticism that Ukraine is failing to follow the Western direction. Is that really the case?
The recent wave of protests are bound to fade, partly due to their own irrelevance, and partly due to successful micromanagement by the Poroshenko administration.