The greatest disappointment of the post-Communist era has been the failure of the West – particularly Europe – to build a successful relationship with Russia. Most policymakers and experts expected that, after an inevitably troublesome period of transition, Russia would join the United States and Europe in a strategic and economic partnership, based on shared interests and values. The pace of change might be doubtful, but not its direction. Vladimir Putin’s massive electoral triumph in the Duma elections of 2007 has put the lie to that notion. His shameless manipulation of the voting system confirms the view that the Kremlin has ceased to care what the West thinks about its internal political processes.