The Financial Times has an exclusive interview with Russian President elect Dmitri Medvedev. Watch the video or read the transcript. Dima is going to have to work on that delivery. His speech is monotone. His words are technical, almost cold. He lacks the wit of Putin but also the Russian machismo. Perhaps it’s because of the FT audience. Nevertheless, the interview is in depth and gives a good glimpse of what he thinks of Russian society, economy, law, Putin, democracy, the media, Russian history and culture and many other topics. Medvedev is clearly no dummy. His words are careful and nuanced. Worth reading and worth watching.
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By Sean — 5 years ago
Another member of Medvedev’s camp has left the building. Sergei Guriev, the renown economist, Medvedev advisor, and rector of the New Economic School in Moscow has fled to France after being questioned by the Investigative Committee about the “Yukos Affair.” What drove him abroad has become a familiar pattern. According to two Guriev confidants, he fled Russia to avoid criminal prosecution by the Investigative Committee. Putin’s oprichniniki raided the NESh looking for Guriev on suspicion that the economic institute received money from Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Another case of embezzlement, it seems. Guriev also has a long rap sheet of silovik designated “crimes.” He defended Khodorkovsky and called his prosecution a sham. The New Economic School receives money from abroad, hosted a Barack Obama speech in 2009, and has regular contact with US Ambassador Michael McFaul. In the atmosphere of “foreign agents,” it’s surprising that it took Bastrykin this long to break down RESh’s doors. But perhaps Guriev’s real sin is that he’s working with Aleksei Navalny, the currently reigning enemy of the people. The Kremlin, of course, has denied Guriev’s politics has anything to do with anything.
Once again purging in Russia is not just what you do, it’s who you’re connected with. If all of this is true, Guriev becomes another “Medvedev liberal” turned enemy of the people for cozying with the opposition.
Granted, it’s all still a theory, but Forbes.ru is running with it. In an article, “The Guriev Case: How Liberals Stopped Being Fellow Travelers,” Boris Grozovskii argues that the Investigative Committee’s targeting of Guriev is another strike by the siloviki to purge out the technocrats. “The siloviki no longer need the services of disloyal specialists.” This evokes a tragic historical reminder:
Liberal economists, who up to this point were former “fellow travelers” and aides, like the bourgeois specialists during NEP, still haven’t been accused of being “wreckers,” but they are already becoming “internal enemies.” The siloviki, who reigned in the background of the Orange-democratic threat, are getting rid of more of them. It’s like when the engineers, technicians and economists of pre-revolutionary Russia became no longer necessary during the transition from a quasi-market to a command economy in the beginning in the 1930s. Therefore the [siloviki] are eating up the liberals.
Is Grozovskii engaging in historical hysterics or just highlighting another casualty in silovik war on corruption liberals? Either way, every week another from Medvedev’s connected technocrat suddenly gets routed.Post Views: 154
By Sean — 8 years ago
But for some the news is the news itself. As I suggested on Monday, it was only a matter a time, like seconds, that much of the Western media would be blaming Russia–which really is a metonym for Putin, Putinism or what have you–for the attacks. I won’t spend so much time on identifying the metanarrative or metacommentary on all of this. Others have been this already: Mark Adomanis, A Good Treaty, and Peter Lavelle. I don’t agree with every bit of the metacommentary, but I do support the general thrust of their arguments.
One comment I will make is the controversy over what, how
By Sean — 10 years ago
Dmitri Medvedev refuses to debate, is conducting a low key campaign, and has no identifiable platform. Yet, he leads the polls with an overwhelming 71 percent. The Russian Presidential Election officially kicked off on Saturday and Tsarevich Dmitri might as well start picking out his office furniture. Thank god the Russian electoral season is only a month long. Could you imagine having to follow Medvedev around as he meets with Cossacks, bows his head in honor of the fallen in the Battle of Stalingrad, and urges Russian businessmen to start scooping up firms abroad? It’s no wonder that 65 percent of Russians have no idea what he stands for. I guess that doesn’t matter in the world of Russian politics. No one knew what Putin stood for in 1999. Come to think of it, I would be hard pressed to explain what Putin stands for now.
The Western press rightly calls Russia’s election is a farce. Well, duh? It doesn’t take much political acumen to point that out. Since we are all in agreement on this, perhaps its time for all the Kremlinologists, Transitologists, pundits, and other so-called Russia experts to concentrate on what this election does mean for Russia? Inquiring minds want to know.
Western journalists might dismiss Russia’s election as a caricature of democracy, but the fact remains that the Kremlin is taking it seriously. So seriously that it appears everything has been done to prevent any surprises. Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has been removed from contention thanks to the Electoral Commission’s assertion that 13 percent of his signatures were “faked or unverifiable.” All of Medvedev’s meetings with journalists are carefully orchestrated. Putin has ordered the FSB to be on notice to prevent “any attempts to interfere in [Russia’s] domestic affairs.” In fact, the entire Russian state should keep its ear to the street. “The task of all state structures is to make sure that [the polls] are democratic, that there is social and political stability,” Putin ordered citing “terrorism” as a possible threat.
Medvedev may be a shoe in for Prez, but I think the real winner in all this is Viktor Zubkov. According to unnamed top Kremlin adviser, Zubkov will most likely replace Medvedev as Gazprom chairman. Zubkov’s pupils must be radiating dollar signs.
Indeed, the Russian presidential elections look to be shaping up as expected. Putin’s successor is a shoe in. The revolving door between the state and capital continues to spin. After some initial infighting, the siloviki seem to be adjusting to the new reality. Real or imagined political challengers and threats have been sidelined, if not outright eliminated. The Russian public is tagging along lock step. If “democracy” is “social and political stability” as Putin seems to suggest, then things are humming right along. All that needs to answered is what the future holds.Post Views: 181