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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oh No. Another Twelve Years of Putin

Four years of non-suspense ended Saturday. Vladimir Putin will return as president of Russia in March. This decision does not bode well for Russia, the West, or for those who wish to do business in Russia. In fact, nothing much will change. Only the election of a new president could change the status quo, and this is not going to happen.

Putin’s maneuvering within the constitution has restored the Soviet practice of lifetime tenure of the top leader. He became president at age 48. When he retires at age 72 (if he does not choose to serve longer), Putin’s quarter century tenure will match that of Joseph Stalin.

Let’s go back to the events of Saturday’s  United Russia convention: First,  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rose to nominate protégé and current President Dmitry Medvedev to head the party list in the December parliamentary elections. As party head, he will  replace Putin as  Prime Minister. Newly lame-duck Medvedev, purportedly near tears,  then proposed Putin as the party’s presidential candidate for the March 2012 elections.  United Russia delegates approved both proposals unanimously and with enthusiasm. (All that was missing was the “stormy and sustained applause” of the Stalin era).

United Russia controls almost three quarters of the votes in the  Duma. Of the three other parties, only the Communists act as a feeble opposition. The other two are pro-Kremlin “pocket parties” that serve as democratic window dressing.

Russia’s new 2012 leadership has already been selected. Russia and the West are stuck with it, like it or not.

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  1. Paul, I do hope you are not planning to visit Russia in the next year or so, while this article is still "fresh".

  2. Here in Russia we hope the new wave of the global crisis will smash Medve-Put as well as their United Russia. The way it will happen is questionable but I think it is possible to draw parallels between nowadays Russia and the Russian empire before 1917.
    Instead of WWI today it could be decline in oil prices to compound the situation.