Expectations about the State Duma elections on Sunday were record low but all political actors have reasons to claim success.
Putin expects few problems with executing the plan for taking another presidential term but that would leave him with several questions that have cast deepening shadows over Russian political landscape.
The number of looming questions is certainly longer than this short-list of Why, When, How, and What, but Putin cannot expect that his new presidency would begin to work if he doesn’t begin to supply answers. Currents of events are leaving him behind with the wishful thinking about ‘stability’ and occasional bursts of ‘manual management’ amounting to little more than re-distributing money flows. Turning now to the favorite pastime of reshuffling courtiers Putin refuses to admit that his return to the Kremlin through the crudely manipulated elections not only reduces Medvedev to a fake premier but also makes his own leadership into damaged political goods. His vision for an easy-going zastoi is heading for a hard and fast landing.