Vladimir Putin, Act II

Was it ever in doubt that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wouldn't run for the presidency again? Not really. And since Putin and his stooge, President Medvedev, have effectively destroyed or cowed the opposition since Putin stepped down in 2008, his ascension to the presidency is a foregone conclusion. Still, Putin had to make a good appearance and he didn't disappoint: The announcement, greeted by cheers at a congress of Prime Minister Putin's ruling United Russia party, ended months of speculation over whether he or President Dmitry Medvedev would run. The two have ruled in a power 'tandem' since Putin was forced by the constitution to yield the presidency four years ago after serving a maximum two consecutive terms. "It is a great honor for me," Putin said to a long standing ovation from thousands of party members in a Moscow sports stadium after Medvedev proposed his mentor return as president. "Thank you, I hope for your support." Putin, 58, described in leaked U.S....(Read Full Post)