News / Europe

    Putin Announces Run For President in 2012

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin walk at the presidential residence in Zavidovo, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Moscow, Russia.
    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin walk at the presidential residence in Zavidovo, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Moscow, Russia.
    James Brooke

    Russia's President and Prime Minister have unveiled a plan to switch jobs next year.

    Ending months of intense speculation, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin agreed Saturday that he would run for a third term as President next March.  Putin previously served as Russian president from 2000 to 2008.  Given Kremlin control of the media and political parties, the 58-year-old leader is all but guaranteed to win again this time.

    Russia's Constitution has changed and now allows two six-year presidential terms, so a victory could open the doors to a Putin quarter century.  If he wins two presidential terms he would be in office until 2024.  In recent history, only Joseph Stalin ruled Russia for a similar span.

    Speaking at a United Russia party convention in Moscow, Prime Minister Putin nominated President Dmitry Medvedev to head the ruling party's list in parliamentary elections December 4.  Putin then said he expected that his protégé would serve as Russia Prime Minister.

    Seat warmer?

    Analysts long speculated that Medvedev was merely a "seat warmer" while Putin served as Prime Minister due to constitutional restrictions. Today, both men publicly said that, four years ago, at the beginning of Medvedev's presidency, they had made a job swap deal.

    Medevedev said it was a well thought out decision that he and Putin discussed at the very start of their political collaboration in running Russia.

    Saturday's convention of United Russia echoed accusations that the party is the spiritual successor to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.  In a carefully choreographed event at Russia's largest sports stadium, orderly rows of black suited delegates gave virtually unanimous approval in the vote on the candidate list headed by President Medvedev.

    Popular politician

    Putin, a judo expert, maintains his popularity with an ever changing variety of televised action events. Most recently, he donned a wet suit and dove for archeological treasures in the Black Sea, and then he donned black leather and rode with a motorcycle club, Wolves of the Night.

    Saturday when his microphone failed, the Prime Minister, a former KGB colonel bellowed: "I have not lost my commander's voice."

    But Russia's action leader is more popular than his party. Four years ago, in the last parliamentary elections, United Russia polled 64 percent of votes.  Today, Putin's approval ratings stand around that level, but the party's approval ratings have dwindled to about 40 percent.

    On Friday, Putin lectured party members to "listen to the heartbeat" of voters.

    Economy

    Critics say that Russia has not bounced back to the level of economic activity it enjoyed three years ago - when the western world plunged into a sharp recession. With another recession possibly looming, Russia's Prime Minister warned party members Friday that they may have to swallow "bitter pills" of economic austerity.

    Saturday, his finance minister, Alexei Kudrin warned Russian reporters in Washington that the world, including Russia, faces a "lost decade" of low growth.  

    This week, Russian stock markets and exchange markets dropped to their lowest level in 2 years. This year, Russia is expected to suffer a net capital outflow of $35 billion.

    With oil, gas and minerals accounting for 80 percent of Russia export earnings, analysts worry that if China catches a cold, Russia will catch pneumonia.

    Khordokovsky weighs in

    This week, behind all the hoopla and digital flags of the ruling party voice, there was a voice from the Russian northern wilderness.

    Writing from a prison cell near the Arctic Circle, imprisoned former Russian business tycoon Mikhail Khordokovsky gave an email interview to the Reuters News Agency.

    Khordokovsky, who failed a decade ago in a political gamble against Putin, wrote:  "The real question is: Will the elections appear fair enough so that the legitimacy of the president is sufficient when the crisis comes? The depth and essence of the crisis I cannot predict, but it is inevitable after 2015."

    A crash in world commodity prices could pose the biggest threat to political plans for a Putin quarter century.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora