Putin to be United Russia boss?

United Russia LogoIs there no end to Vladimir Putin’s ambition?

Not content with being Russia’s next Prime Minister, it appears that Putin also has his sights set on being the head of the ruling United Russia party.

Current party leader Boris Gryzlov announced the move (in what would in Western Europe be regarded as an almost total lack of political ambition) saying deferentially:

“If Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin headed United Russia, it would be the very best option. Such a proposal will probably be made at our congress [on April 14].”

This seems like a sensible approach for Putin to take. As Prime Minister, Putin is technically beholden to President Medvedev, who can sack him at will. But the Duma has to give its approval for any such move, and it would be difficult for a political party to approve the firing of its own leader.

It does make you wonder, though, whether he’s been listening to all the analysts who were predicting a power struggle between Putin and Medvedev a few years down the line…

My favourite bit about this story though is the way it will be stage managed. With typical Russian showmanship, Putin will become United Russia’s 2 millionth member.

How have the party managed to arrange this? Simple – after the 1,999,999th member joined a while ago, they stopped accepting new members. Presumably, prospective members will be allowed entry again only after April 14th.

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