Soon after Vladimir Putin is re-elected on Sunday, his thoughts will turn to the question that is likely to dominate his next term as Russia's president: what will he do when it ends?
Putin's victory in the presidential election is not in doubt as his ratings are high and he has the state machinery behind him, but how long the man who has dominated Russia for nearly 18 years wants to stay power is uncertain.
The constitution limits the president to two successive terms, obliging him to step down at the end of his mandate as he did in 2008 after serving two four-year terms.
His mandate will not expire until 2024 but the problem needs immediate attention because the uncertainty about his long-term future is a source of instability in a fractious ruling elite that only he can keep in check.
"The Russian political scene is entering a new phase," said Gleb Pavlovsky, a former Kremlin adviser who is now critical of the country's leadership.
"Most discussion within the ruling elite focuses not on the next stage of the Putin era but on what will constitute the post-Putin era."