The Washington Times
October 15, 2007
Just when we thought we had things figured out, Russian President Vladimir Putin did the unexpected. He announced he would head the party list in the election and as such would surely be named prime minister by whoever his successor might be.
We had thought Mr. Putin would yield power to a successor, anointed by him but also approved by the KGB state, and retire to a lucrative sinecure, such as chief executive officer of Gazprom. It now appears he wishes to hold on to power, either as the head of revamped government or as a replacement for an aging president who somehow decides to step down in his favor. The consensus had been that his successor would be chosen by Russia-KGB Inc. It did not particularly matter if it was an obscure figure (as was Mr. Putin in 1999) or already known on the world stage. We now have to go back to the drawing board to figure this out. What do we know for sure?