Is It “Prime Minister” Putin Or “President” Putin?

As the war in Georgia and South Ossetia escalates with ever widening violence, it has become quite clear who is in charge of Russia and his name is not President Medvedev. Prime Minister Putin engaged in discussions with President Bush at the Olympic Games, then flew back to Russia to take charge of the invasion of Georgia and the fighting which has caused the death os thousands. For some reason, President Medvedev wasn’t even at the Olympic Games as were leaders of most nations of the world. Most probably the reason is he is not leader of the Russian government but takes a back seat to his mentor and supposed colleague, Vladmir Putin. Most pictures of Russian officials dealing with the Georgia crisis are dominated by the presence of Putin and Medvedev if shown, is usually hovering in the background.

Observers wonder if Putin and Medvedev are working in tandem or is it simply that Putin calls the shots and his obedient underling carries out orders? A recent poll revealed 36% of Russian people believe Putin is still in charge of the government while only 6% believe it is Medvedev. At some point President Medvedev has to begin functioning as a president or he will never be able to assert his power. Does he support Russian policy toward Georgia? Would he be in favor of an immediate cease fire? A leader who can not respond to these questions is simply a stooge dressed in the suit of a leader.