ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Russia's Next Surrogate President

Putin nominates a successor but demonstrates he has no intention of giving up power.

It is now clear who is going to exercise real power over the candidate of the United Russia (UR) party for the presidential elecnext five years. No sooner than Russian president Vladimir tions in March 2008, then the ever faithful protege said that, if Putin announced that Dmitry Medvedev, his first deputy elected (as he is most likely to be), he would invite Putin to be his prime minister and loyalist of many years, was going to be the prime minister. Within a week Putin agreed to serve under his protege if Medvedev was elected to office. This sets at rest all speculation about which route Putin would take to continue to exercise power: have the Duma (parliament) amend the constitution to enable him to run for the presidency a third consecutive time or “serve” under a dummy president whom he has chosen for the post.

Dmitry Medvedev is supposed to be the liberal face of the Kremlin but only because he is not a member of the group of exsecurity service men who form the inner circle of the ex-KGB president. He has served Putin as legal adviser, chief of staff and has run his presidential campaign. As the first deputy prime minister he has been responsible for national projects to revive healthcare, education, housing and agriculture. As chairman of the Gazprom monopoly he has overseen the extraordinary gains to the economy from high energy prices.

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