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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid