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Nicolai N Petro's take on Medevedev:

A careful reading of his more than 2,000 public pronouncements over the past seven years, however, suggests that neither of these descriptions is accurate. His record indicates that Medvedev will indeed pursue a concerted liberalization of Russian politics, not as an alternative to the Putin Plan, but as the next logical stage in its evolution.

Rather, it appears that most observers simply underestimated the Russian government's ability to conceive of and carry out its own strategy of democratic modernization, now commonly referred to as the Putin Plan, and also completely missed its purpose, which Medvedev sums up as "an effective civil society ... composed of mature individuals ready for democracy".

On separation of duties between Prime Minister and the President, there is Presidential Administration which can direct a Cabinet when Prime Minister is not politically strong enough. There were precedents when in weak President - strong PA - strong PM trio PM was running the entire show (Primakov).

Yeltsin/Putin dichotomy is a useful frame to distinguish two epochs, but note how elites remain the same: with few exceptions, oligarchs are allowed to remain at large, people close to Yeltsin family got to keep all the billions, the cabinet (Kasyanov's) for the first Putin term was put together by Yeltsin's people.

For all the rhetoric of the last few years regarding a clean break with Yeltsin's regime, Chubais (universally  hated) is still "reforming" the energy grid, Kirienko (fall boy PM in 1998 default) is busy reorganizing nuclear infrastructure and names like Yakunin, Primakov and Voloshin are still showing up on a short list of candidates for either PM or head of PA posts, not to mention regional feudals ramaining mostly the same.

by blackhawk on Tue Mar 4th, 2008 at 04:23:50 PM EST
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