09/27/2011, 00.00
RUSSIA

Putin a candidate for the Kremlin; Moscow Patriarchate: an example of integrity

Nina Achmatova
The Orthodox Church supports the Prime Minister's choice to run again for president. Meanwhile, the exchange of roles within the tandem yields its first casualty: Finance Minister Kudrin ousted.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Russian Orthodox Church fully supports the decision of the head of the Kremlin, Dmitry Medvedev, to nominate Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for president in March 2012. The news of the two leaders' intention to exchange roles after the presidential election next year has already caused a political tsunami with the dismissal of the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Aleksei Kudrin.

The Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Department for Relations between the Church and Society, told the agency Interfax Religion that Putin's candidacy is an example of "courtesy and integrity." "When has it ever occurred in Russian history that the supreme power in the country has been handed over in such a peaceful, decent, honest and friendly manner?", the priest asks rhetorically. He continues: "This is a genuine example of integrity and courtesy in politics, an example that I believe would be the envy of our predecessors and the people who lived through the Soviet period and, what is more, must be a source of envy for people of most countries of the world, including those trying to give us lessons."

Chaplin - who also made a speech during Putin's United Russia party congress on September 24, during which congress the mystery was solved regarding who would be the strong candidate for president – closes with an expression of full confidence in the current system of power: "In a country where peace, welfare and even the lives of millions of people depend on the person driving the vertical structure of authority, the transfer of power must be extremely responsible, must avoid any kind of confrontation, not only between individuals but also between large social groups, fomented by those individuals."

Even if the opposition and human rights activists warn of the possibility of social tensions should Putin be re-elected (he could govern until 2024 for two consecutive terms), for now the only real battle appears to be the one inside the tandem itself. According to analysts, a proof of this is the defenestration of Kudrin, a close ally and intimate friend of Putin, and highly-esteemed Minister of Finance.

After proclaiming himself "not willing" to enter any government headed by Medvedev, as proposed by Czar Vladimir himself, the Finance Minister was dismissed yesterday by the Kremlin, with the Prime Minister's approval. In a move that highlights joint decision-making on the part of the tandem and that, according to the director of Radio Echo of Moscow, Aleksei Venediktov, was made to show the world that the pair in power, in the middle of a real crisis of trust - is instead strong and united. The goal is to wipe out all criticism regarding the rotation of posts and not to affect Medvedev's image, appointed as Russia United's frontrunner for the parliamentary elections in December. Kudrin could be given the post of head of the Central Bank - some experts suggest - and then became economic adviser to Putin, once the latter has returned to the Kremlin.
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