Putin in 2012?

The political aspirations of current Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have dominated news headlines over the past weeks.

The intense coverage stems from Putin’s refusal to neither confirm nor deny his plans to run in Russia’s 2012 election.
Previously, Putin served as president of the Russian Federation from 2000 to 2008. At that time, Russia’s presidential terms were limited to two consecutive four-year terms as the maximum.

While this restriction prevented Putin from running for a third consecutive term as president, his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, appointed him to the post of prime minister.
2012 would mark Putin’s eligibility as a presidential candidate once again. Interestingly, this will not be the only thing to watch for in Russia’s 2012 election season.

As a result of a 2008 parliamentary amendment, the next president of Russia will serve a six-year term.

This constitution change also stipulates new term limits. Starting in 2012, new presidents can serve two consecutive six-year terms.

The National Post speculated that if Putin was elected again, he could conceivably be in power until 2024. If elected, in 2024, at the age of 72, Putin will have served as a Russian leader for 24 years.

When questioned about his political future directly, Russia Today reported that Putin replied, “My term expired and I thought Medvedev was the best person to replace me and I backed him.

In 2012, we will think together and will take into account the realities of the time, our personal plans, the political landscape and the United Russia party and we will make the decision.”

Similarly, Russia’s current President Dmitry Medvedev remains equally ambiguous about his aspirations for a second term in 2012. The BBC reported that Medvedev said, ““fate” had decreed his first run for office, and he would not “guess in advance or rule out anything for the future.”

Interestingly, it is highly speculated that the two have been working together to ensure the presidency for at least one of the men.

According to the BBC, analysts remain “divided over whether President Medvedev is simply Mr. Putin’s puppet in office, or whether their partnership conceals growing tensions, with Mr. Medvedev straining to assert greater independence.”

However, while hinting a 2012 comeback, once Medvedev’s Putin painted a picture of a strong bond between the two leaders. According to the BBC, Putin said he and Medvedev were “of the same blood, [and] with the same political views.” Putin furthered, the two “would not compete, but would reach an agreement on who would run.”

Conversely, new statements from Medvedev may suggest that a rift between the two is forming.

Reuters recently reported Medvedev’s admission “that corrupt bureaucrats govern Russia.” Medvedev continued, “They have the true power in Russia. Corruption has a systematic nature, deep historic roots. We should squeeze it out. The battle isn’t easy, but it has to be fought.”

Many speculate that Medvedev may have been referring to Prime Minister Putin.

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