Putin Poised For Russian Presidency, Eurasian Dream
And while crony politics is nothing new for the infant Russian Federation -- whose upper echelon politicians still yearn for USSR glory -- Putin's navigation of his nation's constitution has left a number of Russians feeling uneasy about their republic's future.
From The Moscow Times:
The most striking thing about the ruling tandem’s succession decision is not that they had settled on this arrangement four years ago and have been merely faking it ever since, but the incredibly arrogant way that it has been presented to the Russian public.
The Kremlin has bungled the rollout of this history-changing decision in a way that would have generated understanding and public support, if not jubilation, for its opponents.
No viable rationale for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin was put forward, other than that he is slightly more popular than Medvedev.
Putin won his first presidential bid in 2000, yielding control of the nation to his righthand man Medvedev in 2008. Since then, he has served as Russia's prime minister.
His announced "job swap," however, could put Putin in the driver seat of the Russian Federation until 2024.
Putin has recently emerged from behind-the-scenes of the current Russian administration, advocating publicly for his latest policy idea: the Eurasian dream. The idea is widely seen as a response to the European Union's interest in spreading eastward.
Mark Mazower of the Guardian writes:
…in a world where EU membership is effectively barred to Russia, and where the EU is promoting its own eastern partnership, led by Poland and Sweden to intensify European links with other former Soviet republics – including both Belarus and the Ukraine – one can see the logic in Russian efforts to extend internal markets, remove barriers to labour mobility and at the same time win the fight for the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of its western gateways, above all in Ukraine.
Putin asserts that his union plan is not meant as a return to the Soviet era.
But there has been a lot of talk of bolstering Eurasian relations since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Putin supports the idea of creating a "Eurasian union" of former Soviet-bloc states that would emerge as "one of the poles of the modern world, serving as an efficient link between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific region," according to Forbes.
A recent Washington Post editorial labeled Putin's recent remarks at a Moscow business forum as cynical and patently false.
From the Washington Post:
Anyone was wondering whether Vladimir Putin is softening as he prepares to retake the Russian presidency would do well to review the Kremlin boss’s performance at a business forum in Moscow Thursday.
Asked whether Russia was likely to join the World Trade Organization in the next several months — as both his trade minister and the Obama administration predicted after talks in Washington last Monday — Mr. Putin responded by claiming that Western governments seek to “hide behind the Georgian issue” in order to block Moscow’s accession.
Georgia, a former Soviet republic in the Caucasus, whose sovereignty, liberal democracy and alliance with the United States are regarded as intolerable by the Kremlin, is a WTO member and thus must consent before Russia is admitted to the organization.
Despite the news, U.S. officials believe that little will change in Russia with Putin back at the helm.
And fortunately for Putin, he is "blessed with a country that does not really feel it is owed an explanation," Frolov wrote.
To reach Benjamin Gottlieb, click here.
Follow him on Twitter @benjamin_max.
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