In the context of the power conflict raging in Moscow, a number of recent decisions give Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the edge over his longtime friend and henceforth rival Dmitry Medvedev.

 Mr. Putin managed to overturn the agreement between the Russian and French Presidents for the purchase of Mistral vessels. Immediately following President Nicolas Sarkozy’s announcement in this respect, we reported that Mr. Putin had scented that a system of commissions and under-the-counter payments between the two men was being set up, that he wanted to obstruct. Ultimately, a call for bids was just kicked off that has nullified Mr. Medvedev’s promises. And knowing that the Mistral’s are not suited to the needs of the Russian navy, the outcome of the procedure - provided it is above board - should not be in doubt. In all likelihood, the bid should be won by OSK, the conglomerate chaired by Igor Sechin, Vladimir Putin’s deputy.

 After the adoption of Resolution 1929 by the Security Council, a loud clamour rattled Moscow as Putin’s men announced that the text of the Resolution did not apply to the delivery of S300 missiles to Iran, while Medvedev’s camp was affirming the opposite. In fact, the President had officially come out in favour of the most stringent embargo measures and declared the matter closed. However, on 20 August - just as the Middle East media were reporting that S300 elements had been secretly transferred to Iran - Defense Minister Anatoli Serdioukov contradicted the President saying "that no concrete decision had been made".

 After years of procrastination, Russia finally launched the Bushehr electric power plant in Iran, despite the considerable efforts made by the U.S., Canada and the European Union to talk Moscow out of it. President Medvedev had aligned with the Atlanticist position of applying the embargo to all energy supplies, while Prime Minister Putin openly supported Iran’s desire to achieve energy independence. Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov even issued a provocative statement portraying the startup of the power plant as an act of confidence on the part of Iran vis-à-vis the international community.