What happened
A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he would support his former chief of staff, Dmitri Medvedev, in Russia’s March presidential election, Medvedev returned the favor on Tuesday by saying he would ask Putin to serve as prime minister. (BusinessWeek.com)

What the commentators said
At least now there’s not “any doubt about who really will be calling the shots in Russia,” said the New York Post in an editorial (free registration). But this is no surprise. Putin’s “anointed puppet” only confirmed what the world knew would happen when Putin—who’s barred by his country’s constitution from succeeding himself—said two months ago that he would be “willing” to serve as prime minister.

Putin has no intention of becoming “second banana” to his longtime ally, said Reuben F. Johnson in The Daily Standard. “Informed speculation” has it that the Russian parliament will soon begin “shifting powers and responsibilities” from Putin’s current job to his future one.

“Putin has little choice but to stay in power as long as he can,” said Anders Aslund in The Washington Post (free registration). He has been letting his “chums” take over one private company after another as Russia gets “more corrupt” by the day. “The fundamental dilemma for Russia, and Putin, is that a system so corrupt cannot be very stable.”