Putin Grabs Control of Russia's Ruling Party

Outgoing Russian prez consolidates power before leaving Kremlin
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2008 6:21 AM CDT
Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin at the United Russia conference this week. Putin has become party chairman of United Russia ahead of his transfer of power.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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(Newser) – As expected, Vladimir Putin has announced that he'll take control of Russia's dominant political party when he steps down as president and becomes prime minister next month. Putin will be the chairman of United Russia, a new post to which he was elected unanimously. One peculiarity: He still refuses to become a party member. The move further shores up Putin's supremacy as he prepares to leave the Kremlin.

As Dmitry Medvedev becomes president, many expect the once insignificant post of prime minister to become ever more important, writes the Wall Street Journal. In their speeches to United Russia, Putin theorized that the legislature and the executive should function as a "single organism," and Medvedev hailed a "consolidated force."