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About a year away from the presidential election, Andrei Grachev, Soviet president Gorbachev’s last spokesman, attempts a summing-up of the Putin government. He sets out from the view that Russian public opinion is by no means disconcerted by the results achieved over the last few years. The obstacles encountered in the period immediately following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which cast the population into conditions of the serious difficulty and unrest, explain why the present stability is regarded as a precious asset. The problem is whether this stability is largely the fruit of a favourable political economic situation at global level and is hence precarious, or whether it is merely cosmetic. The tones of some recent confrontations with the United States raise fears for a return to the iciness of the past.