The Washington Post now confirms what this blog said some days ago: Western media speculation about a rift between Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin is pure nonsense.
“I believe there is no competition,” says Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a member of Putin’s United Russia party and a sociologist at the Russian Academy of Sciences who studies the decision-making elite. “Our politics are a theater. There are directors and a script. And for some reason they love it when the public says there are conflicts.”
“I think it’s almost the same as in Soviet times,” says Kryshtanovskaya, who still watches who sits in which government seats. She says that Medvedev only replaced two of the 75 officials he inherited from Putin, a comment on his lack of power and Putin’s reach. “He’s a general without an army,” she says.
Lilia Shevtsova, a mordant critic of the administration and a senior associate at the Carnegie Moscow Center, uses remarkably similar language in reaching a comparable conclusion. “There are no politics,” she says. “Politics exist where you have an independent media, attentive audience and unpredictable script. What’s interesting is that the Kremlin supports this
Medvedev, cast as liberal, appeals to the West, criticizing the capricious judicial system, vowing to combat corruption, calling for modernization of the economy by developing technology and attracting foreign investment. He tweets, he blogs, he flies across the Internet, iPad at hand. But what has he changed? Nothing, his critics answer.
“Mr. Zero,” Shevtsova calls him. “There is no evidence Medvedev represents new, modern, value-oriented and transformative thinking. None.”
Kremlin encourages the talk because it makes it seem as if the election (the 2012 presidential election, NNoN) offers a real choice, instead of what Putin decides.
And the idea of a rift is attractive in the West, which wants optimistic news from Russia and an engaging partner in Medvedev.
Read the entire article here