Imagining Russia post-Putin
After graft allegations sparked anti-Kremlin protests, the political future of Russia's prime minister is cloudy at best. are the relations between the prime minister and president developing?” For Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev, Russian citizens are not They cannot imagine a life without a market economy or modern technology. The paper focuses on the recent years under Putin and Medvedev, Creation of good-neighbourly relations with adjacent states and assistance in eliminating existing socially oriented market economy and an independent foreign policy.
It was Medvedev, says a source close to the Kremlin, who secured the resignation of Ingush president Murat Zyazikov, when the conflict in Ingushetia [the tiny Russian republic bordering troubled Chechnya] worsened in October.
Putin highlights personal relationship with Medvedev, Berlusconi — RT Russia News
Putin himself would not have ousted Zyazikov; he would have felt that the pressure on him was enough to make the point. And it was Medvedev, say various sources, who proposed replacing, a string of long-serving regional governors.
Ultimately only one of the governors left, but only because other authorities were afraid of removing the rest. And while Medvedev did clear candidacies for the gubernatorial replacements with Putin, they would not have emerged without Medvedev's prompting, says political scientist Dmitry Oreshkin.
Other Medvedev efforts have had mixed results. His anti-corruption package reached the Duma in severely truncated form, and his plan to publicize the incomes of top Russian officials was defeated. The wealthiest person in the government proved to be First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov—or rather, his wife—even though Shuvalov is not among the top ten in the Moscow government building known as the White House in terms of income, says a government source.
In foreign policy Medvedev has been even less of a factor, making no personal decisions aside from last summer's sign-off on the G8 statement on Zimbabwe.
Putin highlights personal relationship with Medvedev, Berlusconi
There wasn't much point as it turned out: Still, a dearth of decision does not mean a dearth of ambition. Officials say that Medvedev, undeterred by the initial failure of his agenda, is trying again.
And this time, he's doing it without support from the top. In a recent burst of activity, Medvedev pardoned 12 people, gave a wide-ranging interview to opposition weekly Novaya Gazeta-his first with a Russian newspaper-and met with liberal economists from INSOR [the Institute of Contemporary Development] as well as with human rights advocates.
On April 21, a Moscow court unexpectedly ordered the early release of Svetlana Bakhmina, a mother of three and former lawyer for Yukos, the oil company formerly owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the onetime oligarch who famously clashed with Putin and now resides in prison in the Russian city of Krasnokamensk.
Because, say sources, Medvedev want to distinguish himself without pitting himself against Putin. The approach seems to be working. It is unknown, for instance, what Putin thinks of the judicial changes that Medvedev has launched, but they are in high gear, sources in the Kremlin and in the establishment confirm.
Medvedev's agenda includes improving judicial transparency and allowing judges to be appointed for life rather than requiring them to be reconfirmed by the Kremlin every three years—a proposal that is widely expected to be adopted.
The point, as NEWSWEEK wrote last summer, was to shield judges from the influence of government officials, specifically the siloviki—the hard-line faction of Putin's inner circle. According to political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky, the effort has been at least partly successful.
Russia: Untangling the Putin-Medvedev Relationship
And Medvedev isn't stopping there. While other agency budgets are being cut, subsidies for the judicial system are growing. Judges, of course, are the priority, but Medvedev is also moving forward in dealing directly with the government elite.
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He is clearly growing stronger, sources in the Kremlin say. One presidential council after another is being established-from anti-corruption to the development of an information-based society to the affairs of the disabled.
As the Russian journalist Mikhail Zygar shows, he is a broker, balancing the interests of rival clans — business oligarchs, regional bosses, the heads of the security forces siloviki and the technocrats who run the government ministries. These were the men who brought Putin into power, and without whose cooperation nothing in Russia gets done.
Certain rules of the game have emerged. The oligarchs stay out of politics, and in return are mostly protected from the seizure of their assets by the state. Over the years, Putin has also skillfully won more autonomy for himself, but he is still aware of the limits of his power. But in order to secure his place in Russian history — something that clearly concerns him — Putin faces the challenge of installing a reliable successor.
Putin will probably try out the person as prime minister before nominating him as president. Indeed, this was the path Putin himself took back in In the 17 years that Putin has been in power, China has smoothly cycled through three leaders.
But Putin has no son, only daughters, traditionally not seen as successors to power. Presidents Karimov in Uzbekistan and Niyazov in Turkmenistan, who ruled for decades, also did not have sons to whom they could hand over power.
Nevertheless, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have both experienced fairly smooth leadership transitions in recent years. In Turkmenistan inSaparmurad Niyazov was succeeded upon his death by his former dentist, then serving as deputy prime minister.
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Admittedly, those countries are smaller and more homogeneous than Russia, and their leaders wielded far more personal power than Putin. But it is evidence for the argument that the authoritarian regimes that emerged from collapse of the Soviet Union may be more stable than they appear to outsiders, even though they have not developed the institutions of a liberal democracy.
Next president of Russia? Russian President Putin on right and Prime Minister Medvedev attend a wreath-laying ceremony marking the anniversary of the Nazi German invasion in Moscow on June 22, He is not a popular figure, and was the target of a recent documentary by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny which detailed his personal wealth, including owning a vineyard in Tuscany.