Stable Russia Hardly Guaranteed

Putin-Medvedev partnership at odds with country's wish for single, strong leader
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2008 1:15 PM CST
Russian traditional wooden Matryoshka dolls depicting President Vladimir Putin and presidential candidate First Deputy Premier Dmitry Medvedev are seen in Moscow, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008. Russians will...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – When Dmitry Medvedev takes over as Russia's president and Vladimir Putin assumes the mantle of prime minister, after Sunday's elections, Russia will be moving into uncharted territory—and Der Spiegel writer Christian Neef isn’t confident it’ll work. Putin’s Russia isn’t nearly as stable as it looks, and though it appears Putin will still be in control, Russians have never shared power well.

“We can assume that Putin will not lose his power,” said one relieved German official. But while Medvedev seems loyal to Putin, “this doesn’t necessarily mean anything,” Neef writes. Medvedev is a strategic thinker, and Russian leaders have a habit of pushing aside their rivals. Even if the buddy system works, can authoritarian-minded Russia handle two power centers?