Is ‘the Kremlin’ still in charge?

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images Here’s a conundrum for you, dear readers. In days of yore, it was handy for journalists to write “the Kremlin” to refer to the people in charge of Russia. It’s a word that has a certain allure and mystique to it, and using it helps avoid cumbersome repetition. As a short word, ...

593177_080818_kremlin5.jpg
593177_080818_kremlin5.jpg

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

Here's a conundrum for you, dear readers.

In days of yore, it was handy for journalists to write "the Kremlin" to refer to the people in charge of Russia. It's a word that has a certain allure and mystique to it, and using it helps avoid cumbersome repetition. As a short word, it's also great for headlines.

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

Here’s a conundrum for you, dear readers.

In days of yore, it was handy for journalists to write “the Kremlin” to refer to the people in charge of Russia. It’s a word that has a certain allure and mystique to it, and using it helps avoid cumbersome repetition. As a short word, it’s also great for headlines.

But now that Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, is not really running the country from his Kremlin office, and its prime minister, Vladimir Putin, is demonstrably in control, this usage isn’t always accurate anymore.

This headline, for instance, is OK because it’s technically true. Medvedev did sign the truce:


Kremlin Signs Truce but Resists Quick Pullout

But this one is not, because it may not be “the Kremlin’s” policy at all:


The Kremlin’s New Containment Policy

So, does this mean we ink-stained wretches can no longer always use “the Kremlin” as a shorthand for “the Russian government”? And what of “Kremlinology”?

Or has “the Kremlin” become part of the lexicon now, akin to saying “Moscow” or somesuch, to such an extent that the details don’t matter? After all, it might get confusing to refer to the “White House,” which is where Putin’s new office is located, when talking about decisions the Russian government makes.

Discuss.

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