Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Democracy: Russian-style

Dmitri Medvedev was sworn in as the new President of Russia today. He's the hand-picked successor to Vladimir Putin. And to repay his patronage, Medvedev has nominated Putin as Prime Minister. Vladimir Putin was Constitutionally barred from running for President for a 3rd term.

Rewind 9 years to 1999. After President Yeltsin sacked the previous government, he made Putin the Prime Minister. Then Yeltsin surprised the world on December 31, 1999 by stepping down and making Putin the President of Russia.

Now Putin is in the same situation. He will clearly exert a lot of power behind the scenes, but will he become President of Russia again if Medvedev were to resign? Does the Constitution bar Putin from serving a 3rd term or only running for a third term? Considering that the Russian judiciary isn't very independent, I'm pretty sure I know how that ruling would come down.

Our democracy is messy, but I'll take our version over the Russian one.