Putin’s Soul

Yet another sign that things are not going well in Russia:

The mere suggestion that Vladimir Putin has found a way to stay in power in Russia has assuaged markets, reassured diplomats and quieted the fears of his subordinates — many of them veterans of the KGB or other security services for whom stability is an imperative.

But his gambit to run for parliament and perhaps become prime minister may also fulfill the fears of critics, who have warned for years that the Russian president’s long-range goal was to dismantle Russia’s vestigial democracy and end its uncertain experiment in political pluralism.

The political sleight of hand was so deft it has raised barely a whisper of opposition within Russia and muted responses from abroad.

The State Department, a frequent critic of the Putin era’s stifling of opposition groups and non-governmental organizations, put on a poker face in response to the announcement he was not retiring from politics — at least not yet.

“That’s certainly his choice, and that’s an internal Russian political matter,” State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.

Imagine that… the fact that a dude is setting himself up to stay in power forever is reassuring. What are the less reassuring situations? And why didn’t GW see this when he looked into Putin’s soul? Or did he?