THE DUAL EXECUTIVE On May 7, 2008, Dmitrii Anatol’evich Medvedev took the oath of office as president of the Russian Federation. The solemnity of the occasion, which was attended by his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Russia, Alexii II, and other dignitaries, signaled that the leadership was united around the choice of the new president. Elsewhere in the countries of the former Soviet Union, the succession from one president to another has sometimes triggered a struggle for power among contending political forces, leading to popular uprisings with unpredictable outcomes.1 The Russian authorities were determined not to allow a similar rupture in the transfer of power from one president to the next.