Prince Putin Reigns Supreme in ‘Putlandia’

Spiegel . Welcome to Putlandia, where the president and prime minister swap jobs at will, where the constitution is an empty shell and all power rests with Vladimir Putin. The deal between him and President Dmitry Medvedev is a farce. The proud Russian nation resembles a modern grand duchy.

Russia’s outgoing president, Dmitry Medvedev, has many fans on the Internet, 130,000 on Twitter and 180,000 on Facebook. Medvedev, an occasional blogger, used the Web as a forum to promote his reforms. Now his supporters are using it to vent their fury and disappointment at the weekend announcement that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is to run for the presidency in elections next March.

On Saturday Medvedev published photos of the party congress of United Russia on Facebook. But the communicative president didn’t make himself any new friends. « The last hope has died, » commented one Web surfer with the pseudonym Artjom. Web user Marina wrote that the lectern at which Medvedev committed political suicide on Saturday by refraining from running for a second term looked like « half a coffin. »

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