Putin confirms he may run for Russian president in 2012

An AP article by Vladimir Isachenkov quotes Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as saying he may indeed make a run for the Russian presidency in 2012. This is allowed by the Russian constitution, thanks to a constitutional amendment that Putin had put in a few years ago while he was still president. It’s notable that Putin made such affirmative (for a politician) statements while he spoke on a four-hour “question-and-answer show” on Russian TV and radio. This harks back to the days of—or at least the stereotype of—Soviet leaders going on for hours at Central Committee meetings, belaboring how great the Soviet Union’s agriculture and economy was, not to mention Leninism with Stalinist influences would very soon now begin a crushing overrun of American imperialism.

As I’ve discussed on here, Putin may be bringing a hair-free stance back to the Russian presidency in 2012, keeping up the infamous “Chrome Dome Syndrome” that has tracked through Russia and the former Soviet Union since the Nicholas II/V. Lenin transition.

That said, I do wonder a bit about the train bombing that killed 26 people in Russia last week. It is likely that it was set by Chechen separatists. But it’s awfully curious that Putin would make a great stand so soon afterward. Perhaps the suspicion should fall more on the side of Putin, who executed a fierce war in Chechnya, using the event as a basis to start his return, rather than causing it and then rising up in that moment of need. Sad as the statement is, it makes much more sense for the Chechens to have done it. And it’s telling that Putin could use the media conglomerates in Russia to so thoroughly broadcast his intentions.

China and Russia explore future energy, political, and military partnerships

Although China and the Soviet Union were viewed by many as part of a monolithic wall of communism, their differences ran deep. In fact, Soviet Premier N. S. Khrushchev and Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong had such a fierce clash in 1959 that the cold silence between the two states lasted until some time after the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991.

Fast foward to 2009. According to the AP, Russia’sonce-and-future president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “landed in China Monday in an effort to bolster energy, political and military ties between the former rival nations turned strategic partners.”

High on the agenda are a gas-for-loans deal, which is reported to be similar to a $25 billion oil-for-loan deal that the two states worked out earlier in 2009.

So then, Russia is certainly oil-rich, but not quite as financially boyant as they were when petroleum was around the $80/barrell mark. China, on the other hand, has relatively few mineral resources, but they are doing quite well for themselves under former Chairman Deng Xiaoping’s 1984 plan for “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” And really, who needs democracy when you can have socialism with Chinese characteristics?

Or it could be like Russia. There, Anders Åslund of the Peterson Institute for International Economics argues, market reform has succeeded, but democracy failed to take root.

(Note: The author is at this point extremely grateful that he is in a country where he can say that without fear of persecution from anyone except an occasional blog troller, and not the secret police.)


Anyhow. Russia and China teaming up. Huh! Wonder what could come of that. Putin looks out for his own, and I’m sure the infusion of cash will go a long way to help him when he runs for re-election as Russian president in 2012. Unless Medvedev tries again; he’s been doing all right, so it just may work out that he can run for reelection should Putin allow him to do so.

Another fair question is what it means for China. They already have an oil pipeline a deal for an oil pipeline in the works that would run from Siberia to China.* Their rapidly expanding industry needs energy, especially petroleum, and consumes it ravenously. And there’s the whole shipping aspect — all that cheap plastic crap has to get to Wal-Mart somehow. The mind can swirl in amazement at the scale of it until you narrow down your range of vision and focus on particulars within it.

* That’s such a big space, it’s like saying a pipeline would run from western Canada to somewhere in the lower 48 American states.

Update: No breakthrough for China and Russia on natural gas, apparently, but you’ve gotta start somewhere. Besides, how else do you get great pictures like this?

The above photo is of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reviewing troops with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. (Photo (C) 2009 AFP/Getty Images.)

Putin may run for Russian presidency in 2012

Thought so.

This comes as no surprise to people who watch Russian politics. The way is open for Putin to do this. The Russian constitution says that a president may serve no more than two consecutive terms. It makes absolutely no mention of a person being in the presidency after that. So Putin could in fact run for (and likely win) the Russian presidency after having already been in office for eight years. Although current president Dmitry Medvedev is seen as having done a fairly competent job, the speculation has long been that Medvedev was a placeholder for Putin.

Most importantly, if Putin’s reelection is successful, this would continue the “chrome dome syndrome” that has been seen in Russo-Soviet leadership since the time of Tar Nicholas II… which I’ll work on showing later which I now have for your viewing pleasure. Nicholas isn’t in on this picture, but rest assured he had a fine coif of hair.

chromedome syndrome by Jason Haas

And here they are! In the Communist era: Lenin (bald), Stalin (not), Khrushchev (bald), Breshnev (not), Andropov (receded), Chernenko (not), and Gorbachev (bald).

In the bottom row showing the post-Communist Russian Federation era, we have Yeltsin (not bald), Putin (bald yet so badass), Medvedev (with a fine haircut), and presumably Putin (the badass baldy) once again.