Two-Part Czar

The Russian leadership lives in a tension-ridden house. Putin and Medvedev’s tandem system is beginning to falter. The recession has exposed frictions between the two men and revealed Putin’s inadequacies...

Issue: May-June 2009

From the May/June 2009 issue of The National Interest.


THE WORLD'S economic crisis may have profound political effects in many countries over the next year or two, but it certainly won't cause President Obama to leave office early. The same cannot be said with any certainty about President Medvedev or Prime Minister Putin of Russia. Indeed, the system of dual-executive leadership that they operate is the subject of continuous debate and increasing anxiety on the part of Russian elite groups. Some observers fear that the tandem system is becoming unstable, is undermining the cohesion of the state and-in particular-may not be able to handle the deepening recession. They are apprehensive that the two men could, before too long, lose the public trust that they now enjoy, which is a crucial linchpin holding a fragile state and society together. This in turn could cause dangerous convulsions over who should lead the country.

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