Crisis puts Putin’s power “tandem” in doubt

A plunging rouble, ravaged stock prices and rising unemployment are threatening to upset the delicate power structure used by Vladimir Putin to rule Russia from beyond the Kremlin. Skip related content

When Putin left the Kremlin for the modest confines of the prime minister’s office in May, he still controlled a vast flow of petrodollars that helped keep everyone from senior generals to factory workers firmly behind his leadership.

But as a growing economic crisis touches ever more Russians, analysts are starting to question the sustainability of the two-man “tandem” that Putin has built to share power with his protege, President Dmitry Medvedev.

“There are very serious grounds for a plunge in the ratings of Putin and Medvedev, which are now too high for such a crisis situation,” said Nikolai Petrov, a Moscow-based political analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Centre.

“This is very dangerous for the whole political system,” he said.

In one of the first hints a gap could be opening up between the two men, Medvedev on Sunday criticized Putin’s government for not acting quickly enough to deal with the fall-out from the financial crisis; though he did not mention his mentor by name.

Read the rest fro Reuters:
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20090112/tpl-
uk-financial-russia-politics-analysi-39349ed.html

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