Restrictions on political freedoms have prevented any real opposition from running against Putin, and years of economic troubles have hit everyday Russians hard.
But is life in the United States any better? Here's how the two countries compare...
...if you want to be happy
Americans are significantly happier than Russians, according to the UN's World Happiness Report 2018
. Looking at indicators such as income, life expectancy, freedom to make decisions and social support, the US ranked 18th of 156 countries, while Russia was 59th.
But that gap is closing. Another index in the report measuring changes in happiness levels in 141 countries showed that Russians became happier from the period 2008-10 to