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They continue to march united at the Head of State: Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev (picture: TV)
They continue to march united at the Head of State: Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev (picture: TV)
Dienstag, 27.09.2011

Swap: Putin as President, Medvedev as Prime Minister

Moscow. Russia's leadership has been decided - a simple office swap: Medvedev will clear his office for Putin in 2012 but will be standing as main candidate for United Russia at the Duma elections and then take on the position of Prime Minister.

For months, President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin kept the public in the dark on who will be the candidate for the Presidential elections in March 2012.

it was a lost battle: Medvedev unable to fight Putin


It was certain: Medvedev, who only has a small power base, has only a chance if the powerful Putin and his protective official party "United Russia" will support him. It is also clear that Putin makes no move to hand over the real power in the country.

Until today it was only a question if Putin himself would return to the Kremlin where, for two terms between 2000 and 2008, he had served as Head of State. What will happen to Medvedev in this scenario? Some observers had predicted that Medvedev, who attempted but with little success to modernize the country, would be moved sideways into the position of university professor or constitutional judge. Speculations on who under Putin would become Prime Minister - or if there would be a surprise presidential candidate - had grown over the last few days. It could not altogether be discounted that in future Putin would pull the political strings from a less prominent position than President or Prime Minister.

The notorious C-issue been resolved in mutual agreement


During the United Russia party conference for the Duma elections, the two leaders let "the cat out of the sack" - and opted for a less revolutionary change of leadership: The tandem will remain in tact, just seats will be swapped.

Embracing each other, they both demonstrated a unity that would allow all grave fighting and teasing between the liberal minded Medvedev camp and the conservative group surrounding Putin to be forgotten. However, there had been a heavy, but badly covered up power struggle behind the scenes.

Now the scars are covered up with mutual rhetoric. The decision on "who takes which position" are of secondary importance in view of the task ahead, explained Putin - on the other hand it had been decided for some time. This was confirmed by Medvedev.

Medvedev nominates Putin ...


At the Moscow conference, the President, who is not the most enthusiastic supporter of "United Russia", known as "the party of thieves and liars", nominated their chairman Vladimir Putin as presidential candidate.

...and Putin supports Medvedev


Putin, in return to the favor, suggested to his party to nominate Medvedev as their leading candidate for the parliamentary elections on December 4th. According to Putin it is a strong tradition that the current Head of State would be first on the United Russia list.

After the presidential elections, Dmitri Medvedev should be the leader of the government, announced Putin - and there he could continue with the modernization process. Medvedev announced that it will happen with a "cardinal renewed government" - his innovations will go on.

Rochade, a soft change of power


With this rochade, both sides keep face as well as their influence - also the changes in the reform shy Russian government remain limited. This is certainly favorable to Russia's stability, as nothing will change with regards to domestic or foreign politics. But one thing is certain, in future Medvedev's modernization process will have less leeway as after the reshuffle he will serve again under Putin's authority.

And Putin has to win the presidential elections in March. This should be no problem for the still popular politician - even if the elections of the Russian "guided Democracy" are for once to be run entirely free and fair.

The competition is one way or another on lost ground - as there are no mass protest voters in Russia or even a majority reaching opposition.


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