On March 10, thousands of Muscovites took to the streets for a fourth time in as many months to protest against fraudulent elections. Protesters held placards demanding "Russia without Putin." But this rally was smaller and quieter than previous anti-Putin protests.

The reason for the dwindling numbers of protesters is clear: On March 4, Putin won a third presidential term with nearly 64 percent of the vote. For now, Putin's grip on power remains firm.

To secure victory, Putin deployed three tried and tested tactics perfected over previous presidential campaigns: manipulating the media, maligning political opponents and mobilizing voters' fears and prejudices.