Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Hard choice for Putin: No mistakes allowed for choosing future career

In May 2008 the inauguration of a new president is to take place in Russia. Incumbent President Vladimir Putin has already announced several times before that he would not run for presidency for the third time. No attempts to make the president change his mind have yet succeeded. What will Vladimir Putin do when he steps down? Analysts suggest several professional spheres where Mr.Putin may use his knowledge and experience when he becomes an ex-president.

Vladimir Putin may become the secretary general of a political party with the political bureau consisting of the president to come, prime-minister and the most influential ministers. Well-informed sources state that this scenario is highly likely to be fulfilled, president of the International Futures Studies Academy Igor Bestuzhev-Lada says. Or Vladimir Putin may become the leader of a union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. In this case, the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan will be appointed vice-presidents. It is not ruled out also that Russia will be transformed into a parliamentary republic with the ex-president on the prime-minister position. If so, it does not matter who becomes the president, the expert adds.

At the same time President of the Politika Foundation Vyacheslav Nikonov thinks that in case Vladimir Putin becomes the leader of a party he will lose the support of people belonging to other parties. If the president chooses to be the Gazprom chief he risks getting people’s dislike as an oligarch. Becoming a prime minister will mean for him to work day and night again. The expert supposes that Vladimir Putin may take some nominal position after his presidential term is over, the head of the State Council for example. And it is highly likely that after resignation the president will take no official positions but will still enjoy the highest rating as a politician. This in its turn will give him a chance to one day be at head of the government again.

Deputy Director of the Social Systems Research Institute Dmitry Badovsky says that Vladimir Putin will probably occupy no official positions within the first year after his presidential term is over. He will be watching if a new power that is to come to take his place will be effective or not. Being an ex-president Vladimit Putin will set up a foundation or a research center, or will even be at head of the Sochi-2014 organizational committee if Russia is chosen to host winter Olympic Games in 2014.

The RF Public Chamber will have to stand a rotation in 2009. If the ex-president prefers to be the leader of the Public Chamber he will thus become the social society leader as well. May it be so that this very idea was meant when the chamber was set up? If Russia happens to experience a political crisis Vladimir Putin may take a top governmental position once again by participation in pre-term presidential election for example.

After Putin’s second presidential term is over he may be the head the RF Constitutional Court that is to be soon moved to St.Petersburg or become the Gazprom chief, political expert Dmitry Oreshkin thinks. The governmental structure arranged by Vladimir Putin will in general give him quite few chances to quit the political scene. In Russia, a person will keep authority and property only in case he holds power. Otherwise, Vladimir Putin should be absolutely sure that a new president who is to take his position will not carry out drastic reforms in the country. It is highlylikely that the president will choose to keep control over the situation even after the end of his presidential term.

Vladimir Putin will neither become the prime minister nor the leader of a political party, says the first deputy director of the Center for Political Technologies Boris Makarenko. He is the only person who can balance the conflicting interests in the power. Vladimir Putin will likely become the Russian Deng Xiaoping, the guarantor of the political line and the high arbitrator of the country.

It may seem that Vladimir Putin will have a wide range of positions and occupations to choose from after the end of his second presidential term. But this is to be a position that will give the 55-year-old politician enjoying a seventy percent credibility rating the opportunity to keep all achievements and the high rating he has fixed over the eight years of his presidency. Putin’s new position should give him a chance to watch how the line he started is carried out in the future. However, he will still have to have enough authority to correct mistakes of a new power or to take the leading position again.

The hard choice that the president is to face after his second term is over gives rise to many talks. Skeptics say that tsar Ivan the Terrible and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin also several times promised they would quit their political positions as they were tired and needed rest. But none of them would give away their political authority.

Vladimir Putin is quite sincere when he says that there will be no third presidential term for him. However, this does not mean that he can not emerge on the top political position in 2012 or even earlier. In any case, Vladimir Putin will undoubtedly remain Russia’s leading politician for quite a long period of time,the leader of the public opinion no matter what his status is.

Within the past two years President Vladimir Putin often has to answer the question what he will be doing after the end of his second presidential term. And he invariably replies that he will certainly find a good sphere to apply himself. At a press conference in the Kremlin on January 31, 2006 Vladimir Putin said that he would hardly become the leader of a business structure when his presidential term ends in 2008. He added that neither his character nor experience would be good for business. Vladimir Putin also said that after leaving the presidential position his main role would be the role of a human.

What do ex-leaders of different countries do after leaving their top positions in the government? Ex-president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev is now the president of the Gorbachev Foundation and the International Green Cross president. Ex-chancellor of Germany Schroeder is the chairman of board of directors of the Nord Stream projects (the East-European gas pipeline). Ex-prime-minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi is now the leader of a political party, a media tycoon and the president of the Milan football club. Ex-prime-minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher is a lifelong member of the House of Lords and the head of the Thatcher Foundation. Ex-president of the USA William Clinton is the president of the Clinton Foundation. Prime-minister of Great Britain Anthony Blair is to resign on June 27 but will still remain a parliament deputy. Ex-president of France Jacque Chirac is highly likely to give up big politics.

Vitaly Tseplyaev
Arguments and Facts

Translated by Maria Gousseva