Streetwise Professor

December 18, 2007

It’s Medvedev! Whatever.

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 11:16 am

I have not commented about Putin’s anointing of Dmitri Medvedev because I don’t do Kabuki theater or puppet show reviews.

Suffice it to say that any beliefs that this is necessarily final are painfully premature. Putin is extemporizing to maintain a precarious balance. What might work today can be–what was the phrase?–ah, no longer operative tomorrow. Putin is attempting to simultaneously (a) maintain power, because he likes it, because his life and fortune depend on it, and because things will go to hell in a handbasket if he doesn’t; and (b) do so while maintaining a simulacrum of constitutional legitimacy to give a fig leaf to the Steinmeirs and Schroeders and various bankers and investors that do his bidding. This is a delicate task; (b) is apparently more of a constraint than I had anticipated. The difficulty of balancing the internal factions while dealing with external realities means that the situation is very fluid, and as a result, Medvedev shouldn’t be measuring for Kremlin curtains just yet. He is eminently disposable, and may well be disposed sooner rather than later if exigencies dictate.

If Putin fails in his balancing act, things will go all Chicago a la Capone v. Moran. I would stay in on St. Valentine’s Day if I were even remotely involved in Kremlin infighting.

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