Dimitry Medvedev won the presidency of Russia on a promise he would share governing the nation with his belove mentor, Vladmir Putin. The concept of shared leadership has rarely been characteristic of the Russian way of life. Joseph Stalin began as part of a shared governance process but it soon evolved into one man rule. After his death, there were efforts to make the Politburo a powerful shared power arrangment, but, invariably one man rose to the top. Will the Medvedev-Putin duo alter the course of Russian history?
There is no question for the coming year Medvedev will have a close working relationship with his mentor and frequently defer to Putin’s judgment. But, after a year or so visiting in foreign lands, being accepted on an equal power basis with world leaders, the young man from St. Petersburg might undergo a slight change of heart and gradually develop a sense of being the man in charge of Russia.
Putin put his stamp on the presidency which is a powerful position in the Russian government. At the moment, Medvedev is in the honeymoon of friendship and collaboration but what happens when they differ on a point? Does the president make clear to the prime minister who has the power or does he abandon power? Only time will tell, and if the past offers clues about the future, one can forsee in a few years President Medvedev doing a solitary tap dance of power.