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Since the fall of the Soviet Union, political power within the Kremlin has followed the logic of musical chairs. Factotums surface and then disappear, only to resurface at a later date — all according to the whims of the man in charge. And for most of this century, that man has been Vladimir Putin.

The latest example is Putin’s nomination of former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin to chair the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation. The selection of Kudrin for this role calls to mind former President Boris Yeltsin’s own search for a successor who would preserve his legacy and protect his family and fortune.

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