Vladmir Putin will soon be leaving the stage of power as ruler of Russia to assume the role of leader of Russia in his new position as Prime Minister. The United Russia party formally offered Putin membership in its rand and he will “join the United Russia and become chairman of the party’s Supreme Council.” Since United Russia controls a majority in the legislature, it is a given that Putin will be offered not only party leadership, but the post of prime minister. Perhaps, Putin is covering his tracks by assuming leadership of United Russia and becoming prime minister. There is always the possibility–or probability– that at some future date Putin and his protege, Dimitry Medvedev will confront one another as opponents in the quest for power.
Control of United Russia will provide Putin with a constitutional check on any attempt by Medvedev to assert independence and become his own man. He may not indefinitely enjoy the role of protege who accepts the ideas and secures directions from his mentor. The situation smacks of a wonderful Shakespeare play about friends who become locked in combat over power.