Putin did not run for a third straight term as president, which would have violated the Constitution. But analysts have speculated that he and Medvedev could alternate the posts of president and prime minister without ever formally defying the law.
In Russian society, that prospect has revived an almost forgotten genre, the political anecdote, which flourished around kitchen tables in Soviet times.
''It's 2036, and Putin and Medvedev are sitting in the Kremlin drinking,'' goes one anecdote making the rounds. ''Putin asks Medvedev: 'Dim, which of us is president today?' Medvedev answers: 'Damn, I don't remember.' So they go to the corridor to check the sign on the door. Medvedev: 'Vov, you're president today.' Putin: 'Then, Dim, you go buy the beer.' '
('Putin agrees to lead United Russia. Announcement points to power-sharing with Medvedev', 16.04.08)