From the Summary: "An election to choose Russia's next president is set for March 2, 2008. The Russian Constitution limits the president to no more than two consecutive four-year terms. President Putin's second term ends in March 2008. Uncertainty about the post-Putin succession dominated and roiled Russian politics for most of 2007, until late in the year, when Putin made clear that he would relinquish the presidency and take the position of prime minister after his protégé, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, was elected president. Putin's genuine popularity at home, combined with the near-total control that he and his regime exercise over nearly every aspect of the political scene, guarantee the electoral outcomes sought by the Kremlin. Major questions remain, however, about the configuration of political power after Medvedev succeeds Putin as president. What will be the balance of power between the President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin? Will a diarchy of power be stable? Will Putin seek to regain the presidency after a Medvedev interregnum which would legalize a third (and fourth) 'non-consecutive' term for Putin? The answers to these questions will help determine the course of Russia's political evolution -- continuing and consolidating the authoritarianism that Putin has fostered, or moderating that trend. At the same time, Russia's domestic political evolution will likely have a strong influence on its relations with its neighbors, with the EU and NATO, and with the United States. [...] This report will be updated as needed."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34392