Instead of acting to correct that mistake, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is undoubtedly a statesman of great intelligence, has blundered to make things worse by announcing his return to the presidency – swapping places with his right-hand man, current President Dmitry Medvedev.
In the process he has not only undone many of his historic achievements – and these were achievements for which everyone, Russians and foreigners, should be grateful. He has also compromised the principle he professes to value the most – namely, the rule of law.
We all – Russians, foreigners possibly even President Medvedev himself – had been taken for a ride.
The ability to produce a towering figure who could lead the country at a time of great danger or seemingly insurmountable challenges is one of the defining attributes of a major civilization, such as Russia. And Putin will undoubtedly enter the history books as one of his country’s great saviors.