After three years of relative harmony, cracks are emerging in Russia’s dual leadership ahead of this year’s presidential elections—and the country’s elite has “spent the whole last month on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” unsure who to support, wrote a Russian economist. Divisions became clear between PM Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev over the NATO mission in Libya, which Putin opposed; then, the two men publicly disagreed over when to announce the presidential candidate, the New York Times reports.
Now, the rift is taking a toll on other Russian politicians. The Kremlin cut ties to a longtime political consultant who argued that Putin shouldn’t seek the presidency. Meanwhile, a member of Parliament who backed Putin over Medvedev on Libya was fired from his committee position; he now says Medvedev is attempting to edge out Putin. "Some of Medvedev’s advisers consider that Medvedev, in order to win, should fire Putin from the position of prime minister,” he tells the Times.