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Remember Who is in Charge

Today we are seeing some more token signs from President Dmitry Medvedev that he is independent of Vladimir Putin – this time with a stern warning to the United Russia party about the appointment of regional governors.  It is more difficult to say whether these signs are a genuine indication of a split or simply part of a carefully managed show.  (It’s not the first time we’ve seen this familiar plot.)

The party’s role is set to be boosted further through a proposed law that would give the majority political party in Russia’s regional assemblies — in most cases United Russia — the exclusive right to nominate powerful governors.

“This decision will create unique opportunities for the party which comes with unique responsibilities,” Medvedev told United Russia leaders at a meeting in his official Barvikha residence outside Moscow.

“But of course, it will be the president rather than the party that will make the final decision. There should be no illusions here,” he said.