By William Tucker
International media is reporting that Vladimir Putin has won the Russian presidential election. Despite the numerous anti-Putin protests there wasn’t any doubt about the outcome of the race. The media had been covering the many protests in Russia, particularly in Moscow, from the perspective that these demonstrations would undermine Putin’s power base. Such a grandiose belief is pure nonsense. Since Putin rose to power he has managed to consolidate his hold on the reigns by playing different political factions off one another. This balancing act isn’t always static and requires constant attention, however. Some of this is evidenced by the number of times Putin has changed his Prime Minister, but this time around he is simply switching positions with Medvedev.
At this point in time Medvedev represents a weaker political faction, so it makes sense that Putin would empower that faction by keeping Medvedev around. This will likely be a temporary arrangement as political winds tend to shift, though. What is certain is there isn’t a political power capable of challenging Putin’s primacy. While there is an opposition in Russia, it is fragmented and without leadership. Because of this Putin will be around for quite some time, but when he decides to retire it will be on his terms and he will likely choose his successor.
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