- Since the election of Dmitry Medvedev as Russia's President, and the appointment of Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister, analysts and insiders have debated the relative influence of the players in the tandem.
- Looking for indications of policy divergence between President and Prime Minister misunderstands the nature of the political system. Medvedev and Putin are part of a relatively united team, and agree on all fundamental political issues.
- Russia's short- to medium-term future is already here, regardless of who is President in 2013, in the shape of a ruling entity, which emphasises stability.
- This stability is challenged by an administrative crisis which is rendering the bureaucracy ineffective and unresponsive to commands from above. Frustrated by the failure of the 'vertical of power', the ruling team increasingly resort to 'manual control' to try to force implementation of decisions.