Russian Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he plans to return to take his country’s top leadership spot in March of next year. The announcement ended months of speculation as to Putin’s plans for the next elections.
Putin served as president from 2000 to 2008. He was unable to run for a third term due to a constitutional limit.
Instead, he switched to become the country’s prime minister while the presidency went to a protégé, Dmitry Medvedev. Under a power-sharing agreement, Putin retained significant influence despite the official role swap. Analysts, including Arutz Sheva's Amiel Ungar, noted his continued involvement in major political and economic decisions, compared to Medvedev’s failure to follow through on significant reforms, which was seen as a sign of the latter’s political weakness.
Medvedev announced Putin’s intended return as president, and his own planned move to take the position of prime minister, at a meeting of Putin’s party, United Russia. The news was met with enthusiasm among party members.
It will probably be met the same way in the Russian press, since Russia is considered a country that employs what Vladimir Putin once called 'the dictatorship of the law' to prosecute independent journalists, which is sometimes accompanied by physical harassment and outright murder.
Putin-ruled Russia is a member of the Quartet and supported the PA bid for statehood in the UN on Friday.
Russia is one of Lebanon's top military suppliers, although Israel has expressed fears that the arms may end up in Hizbullah hands. For an analysis of the reasons for Russia's significant role in arming the Middle East, click here.
On the other hand, Russia purchased 12 Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle in 2010 after Defense Minister Ehud Barak paid the country a short visit.
Netanyahu visited Russia in March of this year for the third time since taking office in March. Russia expressed a wish that Israel freeze settlements at the close of the visit.
Russia, along with China, was slow to join much of the international community in slapping sanctions on Iran over its refusal to allow international inspectors to visit its nuclear facilities, but eventually joined most of the UN Security Council in putting sanctions on Iran, and in June announced it would cancel the delivery of the S-300 missile defense system it had planned to sell to Iran.
Since the law limiting presidential terms has been changed, Putin, when elected, could continue as Russia's president until 2024.