Ok guys, I'll fess up! I'm a Russophile, and as I stand outside of both American and Russian politics, I think I can make more objective judgements. I stand in opposition to Stralets on this issue, but I'm a grown man, and I can agree to dissagree, or take the critisism that will come my way.
I will admit that President Vladimir Putin is no saint. Neither am I! I am the chief of sinners. (BTW, the last Tsar was not a saint in his life-time either, but he IS my Patron Saint now, and I look to him for guidance. I think King David in the OT had a few personal problems too.)
I have been following and reading up all I can on Putin's 'Orthodox Manner', and as far as I can see, he's as geunine a convert (Though baptised a cradle) as any one of us. I am not God, so can not look into his heart. But as far as I can tell, he makes as much effort, if not more, than I, to be Orthodox. He has the advantage of being the Head of State, so can be very close to the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexi II. That's not a bad thing though.
The Head of State has heavy burdens to bear, and I for one would certainly not like to stand in his shoes. But in one respect he is still ensuring the Nuclear stability of the world by continuing the principle of MAD - Mutual Assured Destuction. And I doubt very much if his hand would be the first to press 'The Panic Button'.
Sometimes I get the impression he thinks he has taken on the mantel of the Tsar (If one looks at his website, the Byzantine Eagle is thier emblem) But the other day he did promise Condi Rice he was not planning on a third term in office. (This has panicked my wife, who is vey much a Putin supporter.) Whoever gets to fill that job, I'm sure that God is in control of that.
Russia is definitly not the "American" idea of Democracy. But to each his own. I live in an imperfect country too (Our president refers to it as a "Socialist Democracy", though not much has changed since this was a minority run government - only the faces. We have relative freedom of the press, freedom of religion, etc. And I don't think there is any 'crime free' country in the world today - anywhere. The levels of intensity may vary, but the devil is loose,' seeking whom he may devour'.)
The subject is Putin, and I digress.
Yes, I would like to see a Tsar back in office too. They were a Monarchy for nearly a 1000 years. So I think that is what many (though not all) Russians would like. The country needs a Firm Hand at the helm. They have that now. How long, we don't know.
I pray for Russia!