In one of modern politics least surprising moves, news emerged today from Russia that current Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, will again stand for the country’s presidency.
At the annual convention of the nation’s ruling party in Moscow, President Dimitri Medvedev told United Russia delegates:
“I consider it to be the right move for the congress to support party’s leader Vladimir Putin as a presidential candidate”, confirming the expectation among many analysts that Mr Putin would again return to the role he had previously held for eight years until 2008.
Mr Putin, a highly influential and popular force in Russian politics and domestic affairs, had then been prevented by the constitution to complete more than two terms and had moved aside to allow his long-term political ally to step up. However, after just one term of the Medvedev presidency, changes in part overseen by Mr Putin now mean he is poised to take on six year terms until 2024.
In similar fashion to the start of their terms, Putin and Medvedev endorsed the other to fill their own position and potentially keep the partnership which began in the early 1990’s at the forefront of Russian politics. Rumours persist of a growing rift between the two men, but today’s announcement does little to detract from the view that Mr Putin is the dominant partner.
A strong opponent of NATO intervention in Libya, the return of Mr Putin has the potential to alter the relationship with the West, but the United States today insisted recent positive relations will be maintained.
"The question of who will be the next Russian president should be for the Russian people to determine," stated White House spokesman Tommy Vietor.
"While we have had a very strong working relationship with President Medvedev, it's worth noting that Vladimir Putin was prime minister throughout the reset."
Vietor continued, "We will continue to build on the progress of the reset whoever serves as the next president of Russia, because we believe that it is in the mutual interests of the United States and Russia and the world."