Russia’s Vladi­mir Putin could go down in history “as one of the great leaders of Russia,” but that could be undermined by his insistence that the country be dependent on him rather than allowing the political system to grow, says Brookings senior fellow, says Clifford Gaddy.

Putin, the current prime minister, is expected to become president of Russia once again following the March 2012 elections.

However, even as prime minister, it’s clear that Putin has been the major driver of Russian policy, according to Gaddy.

“It is unthinkable that any major foreign policy initiative that Russia took in these past four years was not done without Putin’s approval,” says Gaddy.

Yesterday, speaking at the Heritage Foundation, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that the U.S. should expect a step backwards in its relationship with Russia following Putin’s return because he is somebody who “harbor[s] intense Soviet nostalgia.”