The Expected Unexpected PM

We are continuing to watch with amusement the caricature of shock on the face of the global media after Putin appointed unheralded functionary Viktor Zubkov to the post of Prime Minister this week. Zubkov’s lack of experience in anything important other than being Putin’s friend was no obstacle to his being confirmed overwhelmingly by Putin’s puppet United Russia parliament. Of course it is all a sideshow; the position of President is the only one that matters, the case since Yeltsin’s time.

This appointment has importance only in demonstrating that Putin does whatever he likes and that any semblance of public politics in Russia has been entirely buried. For months, even years, the western media has run in circles making forecasts and trying to understand the maneuvering in the Kremlin. Would Putin’s choice be Ivanov or Medvedev? Medvedev or Ivanov? More knowledgeable voices, like that of Garry Kasparov, went ignored. The opposition leader long ago publicly discarded both of them as irrelevancies. Kasparov now criticizes analysts for having made their predictions on “entirely false rationales that might apply to a normal political environment, but not to Putin’s regime. Loyalty is the only thing that matters in a mafia structure.”

We concur with Mikhail Kasyanov’s comment that highlighted the absurdity of an outgoing president reshuffling the government in the first place. This exposes the fact that the coming elections are entirely fake. Putin and his inner circle are in control and no sham elections are going to change that. The only remaining question is whether or not Putin trusts Zubkov enough to relinquish official power to him — or whether there will be a manufactured crisis and a louder cry for a third term.