Putin makes Russians wonder who might lead them next


As Russia heads into a season of deepening political uncertainty, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin laid out his rationale on Wednesday for keeping the public, and the government, in the dark about who would be the country’s next president.

In passing the presidency to Mr. Medvedev, his longtime protégé, and taking the post of prime minister, Mr. Putin ushered in a new form of government, which balanced the president’s constitutional powers against his own enormous political clout. The two men have perfected a kind of team play, in which Mr. Medvedev gives voice to the aspirations of urban elites, and Mr. Putin delivers red-meat politics that appeal to average Russians.

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