Kremlin Picture Politics Reveals Nothing

The history of the Soviet Union was marked by attention as to whose picture hung where, how large was the portrait, who was in the portrait and who was not. The game of picture politicsl appears to have continued into the current era of Putin and President Medvedev. During the Putin presidency, anyone in a government position understood– without being told– that a nice large portrait of the president was important if one wanted to succeed in political life. Suddenly, pictures of Putin and Medvedev have sprouted all over the Russian government as officials get the message–we have a dual leadership.

The sale of Putin portraits has dramatically declined even as portraits of the two men have soared. In Russia, a picture tells more of a tale than any dead man would reveal. Prime Minister Putin was asked by a reporter if he has a portrait of President Medvedev in his office. Putin replied, “I don’t need to bow low to his portrait–there are other ways of building a relationship.”

The real question is what would a decline in pictures depicting Putin and Medvedev reveal about the state of Russian politics.