Putin refocusing at home in 2018
Putin has delayed his yearly address to the Federal Assembly (Russia's equivalent of the State of the Union) until later in February — ostensibly to boost intrigue surrounding the election. Reports suggest he will use the speech to lay out the agenda for his presumptive next term, one that will feature potentially painful reforms such as tax increases or a higher retirement age, alongside popular spending increases on education and healthcare.
Why it matters: Due to years of economic contraction and stagnation, Russians are increasingly demanding measures to improve their living standards. Over Putin's last term, Russia's foreign policy was trumpeted at home largely in place of a real domestic agenda, with "making Russia great again" sufficient to garner votes.