Holding the annual live call-in TV show, President Putin was cautious on foreign policy.
Putin can offer only his personal reassurances, but they carry far less weight in the international arena than for the home crowd, which for now appears content to follow his advice “to believe in all good things.” The Kremlin counts on keeping this positive momentum going at least until the presidential elections in early 2008, so that Putin would be able to secure sufficient public support for the as-yet-unknown successor. His system of power is so rigidly centralized and personified that it is not certain at all whether a new leader would fit in. What is certain is that the “team” of presidential lieutenants and minions has no intention of risking democratic competition, assuming that Putin’s once-a-year tightly orchestrated Q&A sessions provide quite sufficient space for “direct democracy.”
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