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Permanent Putin?

From the Economist:

The likeliest outcome is that the two will try to preserve their tandem one way or another. Kremlin officials dismiss talk of dead ends as pointless whining and alarmism from liberals. The prevailing view is that the system works and everything will carry on as usual. That may be wrong, however. “Mr Putin can return to the Kremlin technically, but he cannot do so historically,” Mr Rogov argues. His popularity may be buoyant, but the historic period of stabilisation and restoration which he initiated is coming to an end. Mr Putin always took great care over symbols, marking the beginning of his rule with the restoration of the Soviet anthem. At the time, it was a symbol of continuity and greatness. Today it sounds increasingly archaic.

As stability turns into stagnation, Mr Putin is becoming a symbol of the bygone 2000s. Mr Medvedev, on the other hand, with his tweets and his iPad, has absorbed hopes of change among the younger, more restless set. He has done nothing to justify this; as a recent editorial in Vedomosti, a Russian business daily, argued, “Medvedev is strong not because of his deeds, but because he rides an illusion.” Nonetheless, the wish for change is real.