Vladimir Putin wants to run for president of Russia again. Also, if Russian democracy is not completely dead, it certainly is on life support, and Putin is about to pull the plug:
Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will return to his post as president next year, after he and President Dmitry Medvedev announced they were switching jobs.
The announcement was made on Saturday at the annual conference of United Russia, the party that controls two-thirds of Russia’s parliament. It put to rest intrigue over Mr Putin’s next move.
Mr Putin is now likely to win two consecutive 6 year terms, giving him a total of quarter century in power from the time he took over the Kremlin in 2000. He remains Russia’s strongest political figure despite stepping aside for four years.
The announcement confirms the long-held impression that Mr Medvedev was only ever a place holder for Mr Putin, who was constitutionally prohibited from a third term after serving as president from 2000-2008.
Mr Putin started proceedings, telling delegates that Mr Medvedev would succeed him in heading the United Russia party’s election list in December 4 parliamentary elections. He also announced Mr Medvedev’s candidacy for prime minister, which Mr Medvedev accepted.
Mr Medvedev in turn said: “Taking into account my agreement to lead the party’s election list, I consider it correct to support the candidacy of Putin for the post of president of the country.”
He suggested the arrangement had been made as early as 2007, when Mr Putin had all but appointed Mr Medvedev as his temporary successor.
“What we have suggested to the congress, is a deeply thought out decision. Even more – we actually discussed this variant of events while we were first forming our comradely alliance” he said.
I actually thought for a while that Medvedev might resist Putin’s dictatorial ambitions. I guess he wasn’t man enough to do so. In any event, it is clear that Putin will be the big winner in Russia’s upcoming elections, and Russia will, of course, be the big loser.