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Is Putin Planning To Make A Bid For Presidency Again?
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Although the official time for formal announcements for the Russian presidency has not started, Vladimir Putin’s acknowledgement of his plans to run for another term ends months of tense speculation and sets off new debate, namely who will challenge him in the elections. At the present, there has been no real challenger named and speculation has named several potential opponents, but nothing concrete.

Most experts agree that Putin is almost a sure winner and with new term limits beginning in 2012, his rule will potentially last until 2024. Putin was the President from 2000 until term limits forced him to step down in 2008. At that time, Putin accepted the post of Prime Minister which is likely what will happen to current Russian President, Dmitry Mededev. Most believe that Mededev has served merely as a placeholder until Putin could officially retake the office.

Putin was personally popular among his countrymen, but ruled with a steelier hand than Mededev does, using what he deemed “managed democracy”, working to virtually eliminate all of the opposition in the Russian democratic process. The timing for his return to power could not be better, nor could the Russian people need him more, because the country is dealing with major issues including political corruption, an Islamist insurgency and massive economic disparity.

The Russian presidential election will be held in March of 2012, the national parliamentary election happens on December of 2011. The United Russia party hopes to hold onto its near stranglehold, currently holding 312 or the 450 total seats. It is that overwhelming number that is virtually ensuring that Putin will be successful in his bid, setting Mededev in the seat as prime minister where he will absorb much of the coming criticism, especially for new austerity measures that Putin warns will be necessary in the unstable global economy.

But, Putin is not escaping all of the criticism, even now before anything has been made official. One Kremlin connected analyst called the move a “filthy blow” to the Russian presidency and considers the whole situation nothing but political maneuvering. Mededev’s own advisers are deeply disappointed that he is not going to seek another term as President and have warned that all of the efforts he has made are going to be for nothing.

As President, Mededev to mend some of the problems facing Russia today including the faulty court systems and the political corruption. His efforts were met with optimism but very little real results.

Meanwhile, in the US, the White House has said that the Russian-US relationships which had been in the process of a “reset” as it has been called will continue along the same path. Much of the work that was started in those relationships occurred with Putin as both president and then later as prime minister. Putin, was viewed as strict but personable during his previous term as president. His ability to reach the people might actually make the transition easy in what analysts are calling a nearly sure win.

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