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Putin had plenty of problems this year, but his main event was a resounding success

Moscow (CNN)Over the past year, special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has circled closer to President Donald Trump, surfacing new revelations about links between Russia and people in the President's orbit during the 2016 campaign and transition.Russian President Vladimir Putin, by contrast, had a good 2018.In March, the Russian President sailed to a re-election victory, winning a fourth term by a handsome margin. Putin's victory was never in doubt, but the Kremlin was able to come close to the high turnout numbers it sought to secure a broad mandate.But the main event of the year for Putin was not overtly political. In June and July, Russia hosted the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a monthlong sporting event that was a resounding triumph fo ...