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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a TV interview broadcast in Moscow on Nov. 30, 2017. Photo: Alexander Astafyev, Sputnik / Government Pool Photo via AP

Although Russia's presidential election is not until March, it's clear that Vladimir Putin will be re-elected. What's less clear, and more interesting, is who he will then pick as his prime minister.

Putin's choice will offer hints about the agenda for his next term. A reform-oriented candidate like former finance minister Alexei Kudrin would signal acknowledgment of worries about the economy and willingness to take painful steps to improve it: reducing the state's economic footprint or addressing unsustainable social spending.

Last spring, current prime minister Dmitri Medvedev was thought to be a goner after corruption allegations against him and ensuing mass protests. Keeping him on would indicate that Putin is more confident in his stability. With questions about Putin's own political future only growing louder — he's 65 and this next term would be his last under constitutional limits — he may feel no need to rock the boat unless absolutely necessary.

The bottom line: In Russia, the president holds much more power than the prime minister. Ironically, Putin's choice of prime minister looks to be more telling than his own re-election.

Go deeper

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.

Dave Lawler, author of World
35 mins ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.

3 hours ago - World

Iran confirms assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadhe

The Iranian ministry of defense issued a statement on Friday confirming the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadhe, an Iranian scientist and the architect behind the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Fakhrizadhe was the head of the Amad project in the Iranian ministry of defense, which focused on developing a nuclear bomb until 2003.