My 2012 Election Predictions
There is probably not a good way to say this beyond the absolute, blunt truth: Putin is bored. He hates being PM, and I am not sure that anyone could, or should, blame him for it. Putin has essentially been Mr Russia for the last 3 years and some odd months. Even Miss America is only Miss America for one year, and there is a reason for it. That reason is, of course, that she’d go stark, staring mad if she had to do it for longer.
I’ve tried to compile a list of PR stunts that Putin has done since becoming PM, and here are some highlights (in the order they occurred to me):
- Saving the tigers;
- Saving the whales;
- Judo instructional videos;
- Singing “Blueberry Khill” for charity;
- Playing the piano;
- Ice hockey;
- Motorcycling with the bikers in Sevastopol;
- Driving across Russia (in several Ladas);
- Bonfire sing-along with kids;
- Sing-along with spies;
- Horseback riding in Khakassia;
- Saving the Polar Bears;
- Playing with dolphins;
- Painting for charity;
- Flying an airplane…
Even I am exhausted at this point, and I could keep going. By my calculations, the only thing that Putin has not done is dress in a tux and dance like Fred Astaire with a cane (something I would honestly pay money to see).
Can you imagine Putin doing more of this for another six years? And, more importantly, can Putin imagine himself doing more of this for another six years? I don’t think so.
At the same time, however, they are kind of stuck. I cannot imagine that Medvedev is ready/willing to leave, and it would look bad, I think, for Putin to come charging back (white horse, or not) to take over the reins of leadership.
So, here are my predictions: Medvedev will stay on as President, and they will appoint someone else to take over as PM. Someone who will balance out Medvedev, and be satisfactory to all sides. At this point, that person will have to be an outsider, because Putin likes to play people off each other (e.g. Kudrin vs Sechin, Bastrykin vs Chaika, etc.), and there is not anyone in the current government who has not been a victim of this. So, for PM, my money is on Prokhorov.
And Putin will take over the Security Council which, happily enough for him, has recently been imbued with more power. And he can go back to being powerful, and managing things behind the scenes, and not have to worry overly much about the lighter side of modern politics, the handshaking, and PR.
P.S. One caveat to all of this, if they still cannot agree on who should be chairman of Gazprom’s Board of Directors, then it seems very unlikely that Putin, Medvedev, and company have actually decided what they are going to do.