It was announced this past week that Vladimir Putin, currently the Prime Minister of Russia, will seek the presidency again in March, 2012.
Dmitri Medvedev, the current president said he would step down and assume the role of Prime Minister. Medvedev could have run for a second term but this move, announced at a party convention in Moscow, confirmed any number of questions but the primary one is, Putin is, and essentially has been, the ruler of Russia even though he served technically in second command as prime minister these past four years (the Russian Constitution limits a president to two consecutive terms which Putin already served between 2000 and 2008).
Thus it appears Medvedev was merely the caretaker of the Russian presidency (no big surprise to the Russian people or the rest of the world) these past four years while Putin reigned from the shadows.
But let's remember it was Putin who stabilized the country after the tumultuous years of Boris Yeltsin as president in the 1990's after the demise of the Soviet Union and because Yeltsin was unable to stem the economic chaos and political uncertainly that prevailed under him as a consequence of the breakup of the Soviet Union.
And Putin's rise to power in his first go round as president coincided with the steep increase in Russian oil profits and the general income growth of the Russian people.
So though the election in March is a mere technicality, as Putin has no real opposition, he has remained popular with the majority of the Russian people.
As a testament to his current stature, confidence and the populism he exhibits with the people, Putin, in addressing the aforementioned convention was able to say, "We must speak openly about the dependence of our economy on raw materials, about the dangerous level of social inequality, violence, corruption, about the feeling of injustice and vulnerability that people feel when they are dealing with government bodies, courts, and law enforcement. All this, unfortunately, continues. We can and must overcome these problems." Wow!
Beyond his message of Russia's economy being dependent on raw materials, Putin's words on "social inequality, corruption, feelings of injustice and vulnerability of the people" would be words of empathy to the ears of the people of the United States if they were uttered by President Obama in recognizing his people's "social inequality, corruption, feelings of injustice and vulnerability" in the face of the current plight they are enduring in this country.
To be sure, the Russian people's historical tendency to passively endure life under autocrats from tsars to Soviet General Secretaries is a sad reminder of their desire for political stability over the messiness that comes with democracy and the freedom of expression.
Be that as it may, there seems to be more factual truth uttered by Putin, an unreconstructed autocrat than comes from the leaders of the world's longest running democracy, the United States.
The irony is the current political atmosphere in the U.S. more resembles what used to be the standard dissembling, half truths and lies emanating from the mouths of Soviet officials during their 74 year reign. Now Putin reveals truths openly to the Russian people the people in the U.S. should be hearing from their supposed elected representatives.
From here, Putin and Russia constitute no threat to international stability or the security of the United States regardless of the formers internal politics. The cold war is over, dead and buried for 20 years.
It is we, the arrogant U.S. that constitutes the greatest threat to peace and stability in the world with our policies of pre-emptive war, exercising hegemony worldwide and perpetrating economic mayhem worldwide by the excesses of laissez-faire, unregulated corporatists and their handmaidens in political power that provide the legal cover for it all to happen.
We're the "bull goose loony" running roughshod all over the world.
And in the U.S. it's the "theatre of the absurd" that is our politics. A placating and appeasing President Obama juxtaposed against the mindless, no-nothing Neanderthal Republicans in Congress and lately of course the less than stellar crew of political opportunists running to secure the Republican nomination for president next year.
In Russia they'll have a calm transition of power. In the U.S. we'll have something resembling a food fight out of "Animal House".
Ah, who won the cold war?