Streetwise Professor

September 20, 2011

Do the Hokski Pokski

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Professor @ 10:50 am

Is Putin in the presidential race or out?  The latest theory, according to an advisor to the United Russia party is that Putin will not run, but will instead carve out a role for himself as “national leader” (h/t R):

“Putin is strengthening his right to rule without a formal status as president or prime minister so he can dodge problems as a leader of a popular front and simply as a leader of the nation,” Mikhail Vinogradov, head of the research group and member of an advisory board at Putin’s United Russia party, said today in a telephone interview.

Is this the way it will play out?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Is this a trial balloon?  Misinformation?  Put out by whom, and for what purpose?  Again, your guess is as good as mine.

But it is not outside the realm of possibility, and would have precedent from Soviet days, when real power did not necessarily rest with those who had formal positions, e.g., the Presidency of the USSR was a largely formal position, and real power was exercised by those with party positions.

Precedent or no, this would represent a further step in the devolution of Russian politics towards personal rule, a cult of personality, and a further de-institutionalization of an already institutionally underdeveloped polity.  It would be presidentialism without the president.  It could potentially reduce some uncertainty in the short run, at the expense of creating major uncertainty over succession in the medium term with no institutionalized mechanism to resolve it.  In other words, it would exacerbate, rather than ameliorate, all of the worst tendencies in Russian politics.  Which would tell a cynic that it’s likely to happen.

The other is-he-in-is-he-out news relates to Prokhorov.  Remember he was in as Right Cause leader, then voted out, then came back, but left of his own accord. Or something like that.   Now he is supposedly negotiating his reinstatement.

Put your Prokhorov in, take your Prokhorov out, put your Prokhorov in, then you shake it all about. . . .

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12 Comments »

  1. Perhaps I am too cynical, but the fact that it would be so horrible a turn is the most convincing aspect.

    Comment by ThomasL — September 20, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  2. @ThomasL–I agree completely. Like Lily Tomlin said: we try to be cynical, but it’s hard to keep up.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 20, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

  3. A fascinating post by SWP, but what I think is even more interesting is the question of whether Putin will be able to continue exercising real power once he leaves his mortal coils.

    On the surface, the idea seems preposterous to rational Western minds. Dead is dead, right? But on the other hand, with Russia’s legacy of state vampirism and Messiah complexes, the possibility that Putin will continue to rule from beyond the grave through his puppets and proxies on Earth surely cannot be dismissed out of hand.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — September 20, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  4. To have a cult of personality, one must have a personality.

    Comment by So? — September 20, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

  5. Ruling from beyond the grave? Probably not. Lying beside Lenin on Red Square? Hmmm…

    Comment by Tim Newman — September 20, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

  6. Tim, just to be on the safe side (your sarcasm meter isn’t the most sensitive one out there), my comment was taking the piss.

    However, I don’t mind the Mausoleum idea. If anything I’d put Lenin into a rocket, chuck it into Germany from whence he came, and replace his body with Putin’s.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — September 21, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

  7. Wherever he goes, the immunity agreement will be sure to follow.

    Comment by Howard Roark — September 21, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

  8. Yeah, everyone always seems to ignore that part of Lenin’s resume. He was part of Der Griff Nach Der Weltmacht by Bethmann Von Hollweg and the pre-Nazi Lebensraum seekers running Germany in 1917 to knock the Russians out of the war and thereby establishment die Europische Wirtschafts Gemeinschaft earlier, rather than having to wait until two defeats and several southern European states’ defaults later to do so. 4th time is the charm for the Reich! It’s all there in Fritz Fischer’s late 1960s tome. But hey Tim, I’m sure Russia would be so much better run under German management.

    Comment by Mr. X — September 21, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

  9. Actually Lenin came from Simbersk, in the Volga basin.

    As for Sublime Oblivion wanting to put a mass murdering KGB war criminal in the mausoleum to replace a mass murdering bolshevik war criminal.

    How typically Russian.

    Comment by Andrew — September 22, 2011 @ 6:01 am

  10. With all his outdoor activities and touring about, perhaps Putin will strive to be the Sarah Palin of Russia.

    Even there he just can’t but help compete with America, in the end.

    Comment by Finnpundit — September 22, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

  11. How true. Without the US as a cause celebre Putin’s political rhetoric would be…well…vacuous and his cult of personality would be…well…impossible to portray.

    Comment by pahoben — September 22, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

  12. Viva Ron Paul.

    Comment by Mr. X — September 23, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

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