Isn’t Backroom Control Worse than Frontroom Control?

President Vladimir Putin will retain a leadership role in Russia even if he steps down in 2008, as required by the constitution, a senior politician has said. “He will not leave,” Sergei Stepashin, head of Russia’s accounting chamber, was quoted as saying in the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily Saturday. “I think he will find the kind of formula in which he would step down, but stay on.” Stepashin, a former prime minister, secret services chief and KGB veteran, suggested that Putin’s post-Kremlin future could be modelled loosely on that of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who in the 1990s was widely considered to retain backroom power despite his retirement. Asked what sort of options Putin might consider, Stepashin answered: “Lots. Party leader, head of parliament, government, a new state council.”

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