The shape Russia’s future government may assume is beginning to emerge after Dmitry Medvedev was revealed as Vladimir Putin’s favoured successor as president. With Putin’s monopoly of power, Medvedev effectively becomes president elect.
The role that Putin himself will adopt when Medvedev takes up the presidency has been subject to much speculation. Putin has given contradictory signals about the possibility that he might become Prime Minister, but this option has gained further credibility after Medvedev expressed his hope that the current President would become Prime Minister after March’s election.
Although there are those who have expressed cynicism about the independence of Medvedev, he will be acquiring a role with extensive powers and it should not be presumed that Putin’s continued influence will relegate the new President to simply being a figurehead. He is a trusted ally of Putin and clearly intends his mentor to retain a crucial position, but whilst he may seek continuity that does not make him a puppet.