When Vladimir Putin stepped down as president of Russia last May, he left little to chance. Just as his predecessor Boris Yeltsin had anointed him, Putin made sure that his loyal protégé of 20 years, Dmitry Medvedev, would take his place. Putin took the helm of the country’s dominant political party, United Russia, and then, as prime minister, expanded that position far beyond what the Constitution envisions. Although Putin rearranged the musical chairs, he continued to call the tune. Until now.