Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Medvedev drops out?

Ellen Barry, writing in The New York Times, seems to think that Medvedev is no longer a challenge to Putin.

In Russian Crisis, Medvedev Doesn’t Seize the Moment
When President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia took the lectern here at his annual political forum last week, the circles under his eyes suggested he had barely slept.

The audience was waiting to find out who would be ruling Russia next spring, Mr. Medvedev or Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin — a question that has gripped this country for months. Meanwhile, a plane crash had killed this city’s elite hockey team, sending thousands of people, weeping, into the streets.

What would Mr. Medvedev do? Put aside his prepared remarks and speak about the tragedy? Address the year’s devastating series of transport disasters?

His choice mattered. As the more liberal partner of Russia’s ruling tandem, Mr. Medvedev still has power to guide Russia between authoritarianism and reform, though it is ebbing. When the moment came, Mr. Medvedev decided to go ahead with his script, a 30-minute discourse on the state’s approach to diversity.

By the time he took his seat, the implication seemed clear: Mr. Medvedev was not prepared to fight for his job.

“In any other country he would have used this as an opportunity to mobilize people,” said Alexander Rahr, a Russia expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations. “Either he is not allowed to do this, or he does not want to.” …

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