Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is Russia's Constitutional Line of Succession Dmitri A. Medvedev's Death Warrant, or His Life Insurance Policy?

Christopher Jon Bjerknes



In a calm and dignified, if a bit starchy and unanimated address, Putin's nominee for President of Russia, Dmitri A. Medvedev, reciprocated and stated that he would appoint Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister of Russia. It was, after all, the gentlemanly thing to do, was it not?

My understanding, and I may be wrong on this, is that the Russian Constitution contains term limits which prevented Putin from again consecutively running for President, but do they not also prevent Putin from again becoming President? Perhaps not, since by way of appointment to Prime Minister by his slated successor, there is an interruption of his Presidency. This is an important question, for, if I am correct, the Prime Minister of Russia is first in line to become President should Mr. Medvedev fall out of an airplane, or something, or simply resign or be forced out of office.

A really interesting question arises from all of this. What if Putin were, in the event President-to-be Medvedev could not fulfill his likely upcoming term, to claim both the Presidency and the Prime Ministry? Perhaps, Putin would remain as Prime Minister and the next in line of succession would succeed Medvedev as President?

What if Medvedev simply hands off the Presidency to Putin and Putin carries it to the goal line? No, that would be too obvious, I say with tongue in cheek. However, it is noteworthy that Putin chose a comparatively weak personality to succeed him, if only temporarily.

Video: Putin will be my Prime Minister: Medvedev RussiaToday

Speech by Dmitri A. Medvedev (NYT's English Translation)