Financial Times devoted in its Friday's issue an editorial article about infighting inside the bloody gang of Putin's crooks and thieves under the headline "Putin's power play".
The newspaper notes that Russia's new-old gang government bears all the marks of a country paralyzed by infighting.
On his return to the post of (illegitimate) "hawk", Putin's priority seems to be maintaining the balance of power between the rival political clans that surround him. His strategy of balance and rule does the country little good, and in the long run hems him in as much as it preserves his supremacy.
"Dove"Medvedev, the (illegitimate) prime minister whom Putin used to keep the presidential chair warm for him by his dwarf ass, is more "sympathetic to reforms" needed to modernize the top-heavy petro-state that is Russia. But if he expected greater opportunities to pursue a reformist agenda, he must be disappointed.
Many ministers stayed on in the transition. Some who left got jobs in the Kremlin, suggesting a parallel government. The most significant reshuffle was the replacement of "hawk" Igor Sechin, an opponent of liberal reforms, with "dove" Arkady Dvorkovich, a Medvedev ally, in the post in charge of energy. But Sechin was immediately forwarded to the board of Rosneftegaz, which holds the state's stakes in energy companies. He was also made chief executive of Rosneft, the oil company.
Far from a demotion, this may well strengthen "hawk" Sechin's grip on the energy sector, and therefore weaken "dove" Dvorkovich's reformist influence. Furthermore, "hawk" Putin has quickly issued several decrees that have thrown into disarray a programme for privatising state-controlled businesses.
No wonder Russian stocks have had a rollercoaster ride this week. The rivalry around Putin feeds two scourges: uncertainty about what will happen and a prospect of eventual paralysis. Both dim the hope for serious reform.
This situation is not sustainable, writes FT. If Putin does not set a clear course, events will force his hand. The longer he continues his tightrope balancing act, the harder it will be to pick any course of action without falling down.
Department of Monitoring