President Medvedev chose the futuristic Skolkovo Business School campus outside of Moscow for his first-ever televised question-and-answer session last Wednesday. He was greeted by applause from the eight hundred journalists in attendance. They were hoping for theannouncement. It did not come, but Medvedev did not pass up the opportunity to indirectly advance the case that he should be reelected president in 2012. Putin’s camp was less subtle. Over the weekend, “sources close to Putin” disclosed that he intended to run in the 2012 presidential election.
Over the past half year, Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin have “announced” competing platforms for the presidential “campaign.” It’s a bit different from an American political campaign. Russia’s 2012 presidential election will be resolved behind closed doors in a byzantine process that no outsider can understand. There will emerge one candidate, who will run against token opposition, and who will be Russia’s president for the next four years.