The Oil and the Glory

Reading Harley-Davidson tea leaves in the Kremlin Contest

I’m torn — when Vladimir Putin embarks on yet another show of machismo, does it indicate his political ambitions, his appetite for fun, or a late-midlife crisis? Last night, Putin donned black leather, climbed aboard a Harley and launched his party’s campaign for Dec. 4 parliamentary elections. I have never seen a poll in any ...

Ivan Secretarev   Reuters-Pool/Getty Images
Ivan Secretarev Reuters-Pool/Getty Images

I’m torn — when Vladimir Putin embarks on yet another show of machismo, does it indicate his political ambitions, his appetite for fun, or a late-midlife crisis? Last night, Putin donned black leather, climbed aboard a Harley and launched his party’s campaign for Dec. 4 parliamentary elections. I have never seen a poll in any country where I have lived that indicates motorcycle and leather reliably drive large numbers of votes, but who knows?

There are two days left to earn bragging rights by correctly guessing Russia’s future — will Putin return to the Kremlin as Russia’s president? Or are we merely witnessing some of his fun before he again gives the nod to his protégé, Dmitry Medvedev? Tell me what you think in the Kremlin Contest.

Say who will be president, who will be prime minister, and what date Putin will announce his decision. Also name a small, non-cash wager — current bets include a mug, a T-shirt, and a glass of Rioja — and send it in a short email using the link on the right of this blog, above my photograph.

I’m torn — when Vladimir Putin embarks on yet another show of machismo, does it indicate his political ambitions, his appetite for fun, or a late-midlife crisis? Last night, Putin donned black leather, climbed aboard a Harley and launched his party’s campaign for Dec. 4 parliamentary elections. I have never seen a poll in any country where I have lived that indicates motorcycle and leather reliably drive large numbers of votes, but who knows?

There are two days left to earn bragging rights by correctly guessing Russia’s future — will Putin return to the Kremlin as Russia’s president? Or are we merely witnessing some of his fun before he again gives the nod to his protégé, Dmitry Medvedev? Tell me what you think in the Kremlin Contest.

Say who will be president, who will be prime minister, and what date Putin will announce his decision. Also name a small, non-cash wager — current bets include a mug, a T-shirt, and a glass of Rioja — and send it in a short email using the link on the right of this blog, above my photograph.

<p> Steve LeVine is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, and author of The Oil and the Glory. </p>

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