President Vladimir Putin is keeping mum about his choice of a successor for 2008. And wise that he does. The longer he holds out and the more he denies he won’t run for a third term (nota bene: the Russian constitution only bars a third “consecutive” term, leading to speculation on all manner of scenarios), the longer he avoids lame duck status.
Still, we can’t help evaluating the front runners. A recent VTsIOM opinion poll had Russians rank their five most trusted politicians. Putin came out on top (54.6%), followed by Dmitry Medvedev (16.4%), Sergei Shoigu (12.9%), Sergei Ivanov (11.1%), Vladimir Zhirinovsky (8.9%) and Yuri Luzhkov (6.9%). Meanwhile, at press time, we discovered a UK online sports bookie (see box, right) that was taking bets on the winner of Russia’s 2008 presidential bid. While the methodology of their odds-making was not disclosed (one assumes they did not put a call into Boris Berezovsky), the results are rather interesting, in particular the high rankings of Yuri Trutnev and Gennady Zyuganov. Notably absent: Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.
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