Vladmir Putin has just named his successor as president of Russia, Dmitry Medveded, now first deputy prime minister and chairman of the state-owned energy company Gazprom. Medvedev is a Putin protégé and worked with him in the city government of St. Petersburg in the 1990s. Any doubts that he would do Putin's bidding were resolved when he announced that he would name Putin prime minister and would expand the powers of that job. So much, for the time being, for my speculation that post-Putin Russia would resemble the PRI regime that governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000, in which presidents appointed their successors but were generally unable to influence government after the successor took office. Of course it's a foregone conclusion that Putin's choice will win the March 2 election; Putin's party just won 64 percent of the votes in legislative elections.
By Michael Barone