Oracles are disgraced once again. All inveterate political analysts have a good chance to finish their inglorious careers. It is common truth now: nobody managed to guess how the president-parliament solitaire would be solved.
This happened as everybody believed truly there were only two variants for the presidential election, and the final decision has appeared right out of the blue sky.
It was not that much the distribution of roles, but the solid demonstration of common will that struck most.
The problem is that analysts were involved too much in the thought it would be necessary to overcome some, as many thought, unnatural dualism in Russian politics. Over four years, the tandem has exhausted itself, they said, and Russia should have a single ruler and tough management. They thought the elections would put a limit, at last, to bifurcation of power, management, ideology and personalities.
Correct, over the four years, Putin and Medvedev demonstrated not once that they are different, and the differences may be quite visible and sufficient. This was true regarding tactical aspects of home policy and economic development, as well as staff issues and foreign policy. This even has resulted in a special direction of political science, where experts calculated thoroughly real and imaginary disputes between the leaders and forecasted where the tandem will break apart.
The paradox is that the leaders themselves, unlike interpreters of the Russian policies, chose not to consider certain inconsistencies and incongruities between them. And, by the way, from the very beginning nobody ever promised that the tandem is equipped with universal shock and it will roll over bumps of Russian reality and international policies exclusively in sync and harmony. Political scientists and politicians feared themselves.
However, it is worth admitting that dismay was seen in some representatives of federal and local bureaucratic elite.
What became evident as smoke cleared after the congress of United Russia?
Those who sought to clear the situation and minds by exclusion from the Russian policy of one of its pillars did miscalculate.
The tandem will go on. Though in a mirror image of 2008 and with certain tactical nuances, of course, but still in its previous composition. Analysts used immediately the chess term "castling". But the castling - it's not a mere shuffle of pieces on the chess field. It is rather change of places for aim of strengthening the overall position.
Whether this castling will improve Putin’s position in the tandem? Absolutely. After all, he will now gain the presidential powers. And Medvedev is convinced that Putin's experience and authority will help to implement these powers.
Whether Medvedev’s role in the tandem will become stronger? No doubt. Since now, leading the party to victorious elections, he will gain support from the party bodies, and then , obviously, - from the strongly renewed government. And Putin emphasized that now Medvedev can start to create a young, energetic, efficient management team. This means he acknowledged that Medvedev's work as the president had been successful.
Finally, as a result of the "in-tandem" castling, hopefully, the general position of Russia will be established better, which is exactly what ultimately we all should be concerned about, isn’t it?
It turns out that despite evil prophecies, the long-term agreements do work in Russian politics. And, moreover, they are effective for the country.
Putin and Medvedev not only distanced in the least from their own personal arrangements they made four years earlier. Nor did they give to Russia or voters a reason to reproaches - simply because they followed fully their beliefs and principles. Never disappointed or betrayed each other or themselves.
It is also important that the tandem has retained actually two ruling generations of politicians: despite the difference in age, which is not too big, Putin and Medvedev have been formed in different times and different circumstances. Today, 50-year-old and 30-year-old Russians need heroes of OUR time. And the heroes should be victorious. Two presidents - what could be more heroic? The Russian reality is such that in this tandem, wittingly or unwittingly, the Russians are watching television, like they would look in a mirror, searching for an answer to the question of who they are today, and what they will be like tomorrow.
In the tandem they both managed to demonstrate their best qualities. Putin – is a charismatic leader who can take responsibility and formulate moods and wishes of the people quickly. Medvedev – is a modern technological politician, who knows what precise calculation is and who is naming openly the society’s illnesses, and, by the way, he is capable of decisive action, as was shown in the conflict with Georgia.
Now, looking into the mirror of United Russia’s congress, everybody, like it happens often, began collectively to see the light. It became clearly obvious: the tandem has not been a tactical alliance for temporal stability. The tandem does not aspire to answer a primitive childish question, "who is stronger - an elephant or a whale?" The ideology of the decision to establish a tandem from the very beginning was to approach with common will the common objective – and it is obvious: modernisation /no questions from the floor!/ of the country and dignity of the people - not to lose multi-variant motion and internal pluralism. This means – not to lose creation capacity and to offer a resultant acceleration vector, which would move the country forward.
Russia is too immense to have everything inside it simply and unambiguously. And the mirror it looks into should match. The tandem should try once again.
Moscow, September 25