The Iraq problem is implicated in it too
A source from the administration of the Russian president said that the opposition within this structure has entered a new qualitative level.
The head of the presidential administration, Alexander Voloshin, and his deputy, the main Kremlin political-intrigue "genius" Vyacheslav Surkov, have been in a conflict with each other for a long time. This conflict can not result in one of them having to go. The two statesmen are destined to be in one boat, but not treating each other in a very decent way. If Alexander Voloshin becomes the prime minister, such an appointment would allow easing the tension between them. They would get considerable advantages - Voloshin as the prime minister and Surkov as a person, who is capable of manipulating anyone, who will become the head of the presidential administration.
This situation in the presidential administration explains the United Russia party's strange attacks against the government. If the party wins the parliamentary elections, it will have an opportunity to form the new cabinet of ministers, and the incumbent government will have to resign after the presidential election, as the Constitution stipulates. This makes it clear that Alexander Voloshin's possible claims for the position of prime minister may come true.
It seems that there are no other candidates for this prime governmental position. Vice Prime Minister Aleksey Kudrin is not good: He is close to the president, but his appointment would be very good for Anatoly Chubais (the head of Russian giant RAO UES of Russia), which Putin does not want. The new political intrigue already has its proponents (oligarchs) and adversaries (the president). As they say, Vladimir Putin does not see Alexander Voloshin in the position of the prime minister.
The Iraq problem was supposed to become an additional resource for United Russia to strengthen its positions. Russian generals convinced the president and his administration that Baghdad would become another Stalingrad and that a powerful anti-military action was capable of becoming the driving force for United Russia's popularity. However, the story ended up in confusion: The first anti-war action of the party coincided with the virtual capitulation of Baghdad.
As a matter of fact, Russian military intelligence was perfectly aware of the true situation in Iraq. In a an agreement with the USA, Russian special services acted as mediators in the "mysterious" disappearance of both the Iraqi defense and the top of Saddam's administration. They say that Russian special services executed that function on the basis of the prime minister's verbal order.
As a result, the reaction of the American administration to Russia's official stance regarding Iraq was much more favorable, as opposed to France or Germany. This support from the USA allows the Russian prime minister to further his selfish opposition with the head of the state.
Nevertheless, tense relations between the president and the prime minister are artificially exaggerated by the sides that are interested in taking the prime minister's office. For example, Vladimir Putin ordered Voloshin to settle a scandalous issue with the head of the Russian State Fishing Committee, Yevgeny Nazdratenko. They tried to dismiss Nazdratenko from that position, but the attempt eventually failed. This event was simply a farce and mockery of the supreme power.
BBC photo: Vladimir Putin and Alexander Voloshin