At the moment, the most-discussed question in Russia is: Who will succeed President Vladimir Putin when his two-term limit expires in March?
It is all but certain that whoever Putin names as his favored successor will become the country's new leader. Two men are widely believed to be prime candidates. This week, one of them, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, held his first major news conference.
Like Putin, Ivanov is a former KGB officer. The two men are close; they both come from St. Petersburg — and they share a similar tight-lipped, steely demeanor.
In what appeared very much to be a campaign presentation Wednesday, a confident-looking Ivanov gave every indication he would continue Putin's policies, including a growing confrontation with the West.