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You're reading: Putin strong at 60 but economic challenges loom
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The legacy of Putin’s 13-year rule is an economy that depends entirely on an oil-and-gas bonanza and a rigid political system that has stifled dissent, turned the parliament into a rubber stamp and reduced courts to obedient tools for the government.

Are the Russians getting tired of their macho leader, who celebrates his birthday Sunday?

Not yet, experts say, but many of Putin’s supporters are backing him out of apathy and fear of change rather than genuine enthusiasm. Such support may fade away quickly if energy prices slump, leading to widespread hardship.

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