President to Puppet President

Yet another surprise announcement from Vladimir Putin. He plans to run for parliament and is evidently looking to establish himself as the next Prime Minister to some puppet President. Sounds fairly macabre and sets the stage for another oligarchic type rule. This announcement gives some sense to the nomination of Zubkov as his current PM. Having Putin as PM wouldn’t be so shocking if it were not for the fact that it will be he who will choose his Presidential successor and, why not, also likely change the scope of power of the PM in the process [although if he were to retake the Presidency at a later stage, he might ye regret that]. It all smells like a lot of rudimentary power plays and likely spells the eclipse of the democratic process. With the press clamp down, the oppression of opposing parties, including the not so masqued squashing of Kasparov (arrest and imprisonment in April this year; Independent report), one has to wonder what is next. Note that on Sept 30th, 2007, Garry Kasparov entered the Russian Presidential race, receiving 379 out of 498 votes at a Congress held in Moscow by opposition coalition, The Other Russia. However, Putin’s current popularity will allow his United Russia party to gain a strong majority in the March 2008 “elections”. Putin is not concerned with winning or losing the election. He is concerned with keeping his hegemony. Despite some great areas of progress under the Putin regime, this is not a very tantalizing outlook for the democratic process.

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