‘I will transmit this to Vladimir’
By Charles Clover and Catherine Belton
On Monday, Putin will return as president of Russia, in a move that has sparked unprecedented protest on the streets. The issue of succession, which has consumed Moscow’s political circles for the past four years, is not about to go away. The “corridor games” of Kremlin intrigue look set to dominate the next six years as well.
While 12 years in power may have taken a toll on his sense of perspective, Vladimir Putin will be back in the driver’s seat of the Kremlin for the third time, after his presidential inauguration on Monday. A much-reduced Medvedev will step down, to become prime minister. Hopes once harboured – by officials inside the Obama administration, Russian democrats, and even some of the country’s richest men – that Russia could take a course of more liberal reforms, under a continuation of the Medvedev presidency, now seem, like the protests of the winter, to have melted away with the snow.
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