It is impossible to think of Russia today without thinking of Vladimir Putin. More than any other major national leader, he personifies his country in the eyes of the outside world, and dominates Western media coverage of it to an extraordinary extent. In Russia itself, he is likewise the centre of attention for detractors and supporters alike. But as Tony Wood argues, this overwhelming focus on the president and his personality means that we understand Russia less than we ever did before. Too much attention is paid to the man, and not enough to the country outside the Kremlins walls.