Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

How Putin's election merry-go-round smacks of Stormont

He bared his chest on national TV more often than Chico on Dancing on Ice.

Like Bear Grylls, he's been filmed in every imaginable hostile natural terrain. He has white water rafted, wrestled with tigers, danced with wolves, kissed small infants and serenaded their grannies. He has even wept manly tears on TV.

There is no option in the wide lexicon of Stunts to Get the Punters Voting For You that Vladimir Putin hasn't tried. And now he has been handsomely rewarded with a landslide majority that eclipses even the Little Mix win on X Factor and comfortably secures for him (once again) the Russian presidency.

As leadership comebacks go, it's impressive stuff although it should be pointed out that Mr P hasn't exactly been in political Siberia - just the Moscow equivalent of OFMDFM.

Vladimir was PM while his friend Dmitry Medvedev was President before him. Now it's all change. Medvedev becomes PM as Vlad succeeds him as President.

Neat.

Not that we have room to sneer here. For what happens at the Kremlin has odd echoes of our own Stormont-style rotation of ministries.

All change. But no real change involved.

The way things stand you could see how Tom Elliotskov and Alasdair McDonnellski could feel right at home on the Kremlin backbenches. They're never going to seize power there either.

I suppose you could argue that our DUP/Sinn Fein powersharing set-up is healthier than the Moscow version. But then again Putin and Medvedev do face a clearly defined opposition.

Sadly we still don't have one of those at Stormont.

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