Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The Shape of Things to Come in Russia
Whether he still needs to become prime minister is therefore questionable. Perhaps the prime minister might remain as the day-to-day figure for keeping the government's trains running on time, leaving Putin as party leader and de facto national leader. Interestingly, president-elect Dmitry Medvedev chose not to join the United Russia party, meaning that he is officially a non-party figure (which means that United Russia does not have two heads, but remains in essence "Putin's party.")
This may still leave open the possibility of the Mexico scenario which I have talked about in the past, or be the next step in constructing a new party-government symbiosis on the LDP model from Japan.
Interestingly, Silvio Berlusconi's first major meeting after winning the Italian elections will be with Putin--this Thursday in Sardinia. Again, it continues to demonstrate that there is a trans-Atlantic "gap" on Russia. First Merkel flew to meet with president-elect Medvedev after the elections, and now Putin goes to Italy.
So the process of transition is underway.
I don't know about that, Nick. Presiding over the Cabinet, having ministers and their subordinates report to you regularly, and otherwise wielding the powers of state on a daily basis to make sure that the trains run on time, the tax police goes after the right people, the military keeps the Chechens down, etc., etc. shoud be useful to maintaining control. levers of power for myself. Do you think that Putin would want find yet another surrogate to trust to do that for him?