Tuesday, December 11, 2007

As You Were

What Russia's leadership will look like after Vladimir Putin steps down as president next year is becoming clear. It's still going to feature Mr Putin as the most powerful figure, although he's going to be prime minister instead, a neat way of getting round the limit of two terms as president imposed by Russia's constitution. The new president, and a man we'll all have to learn the name of pretty quickly, seems certain to be Dmitry Medvedev.

If anyone was in any doubt that Russia would continue its belligerent, nationalistic agenda once Mr Putin was no longer president should doubt no longer. Mr Medvedev could barely be similar to the man he's going to be working with (there's a small matter of an election first, but as seen recently in the parliamentary vote, that shouldn't be a problem). A former chief of staff to Mr Putin, he's currently the chairman of the state-owned oil-and-gas giant Gazprom. Already an important man behind the scenes, Mr Medvedev will soon become an important man on the world stage. But Mr Putin will still be at the centre of everything. The Russian resurgence isn't going to stop anytime soon.

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