Putin: The Sun that Never Sets?

Putin: The Sun that Never Sets?

A quality common to any good story has become characteristic of Kremlin succession struggles -- suspense. After Vladimir Lenin died, Josef Stalin and Leon Trotsky vied for the leadership of the Soviet Union. After exile and assassination, Stalin emerged victorious. After Stalin, Lavrenti Beria and Nikita Khrushchev struggled for power. Again, after much backstabbing and another assassination, Khrushchev beat out Beria.

While the political system has changed in name since those political tales played out, suspense is still relevant to Russia's succession struggle leading up to 2008 elections. The main difference today (besides, hopefully, the lack of political assassination), however, is that unlike the leaders at the center of the two aforementioned triangles, the pinnacle of today's triangle, President Vladimir Putin, is not only alive to see the story play out, but he is controlling it.

The other characters in today's suspense story are Putin's dual first deputy prime ministers, Dmitry Medvedev and Sergei Ivanov, both of whom have become media favorites as possible presidential successors in 2008. The two contenders have much in common. Besides their titles, both have nearly equal control of large amounts of economic capital in Russia. Former Defense Minister Ivanov, whom Putin only promoted to first deputy prime minister last month, has been given management duty of Russia's giant military-industrial complex. Medvedev, whom Putin named first deputy prime minister in 2005, is the chairman of Russia's state-owned energy exporter, Gazprom.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review