Putin humiliates Medvedev

54_1.jpgThe war between Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin has actually already begun. Supporters and associates of the Kremlin’s former ringleader are now holding leading posts in the new government of Russia.The New York Times writes that in announcing the cabinet, Putin sat at the same place at a table that he used as president for these performances. President Medvedev sat in a chair that viewers have come to regard as one for subordinates. All this, as the newspaper writes, suggests that Medvedev still remains Putin’s puppet. But will this phase of their relationship last long?


As one of the Russian commentators neatly observed, “Autocracy is never divided in two”.


Observers note that “converted to premier” Putin played a key role in forming a new government. In particular, he has replaced the so-called power bloc, which former head of the government simply could not do. Putin did it in his style: “the outsiders” have now become the heads of the emerged groups.


Russian political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin believes that by his decisions Putin shows who is in charge. In his commentary to Radio Liberty he said:


“From my point of view, the issue of consolidation must be considered after Medvedev makes his move. He has his own considerations as well. The way he will build his administration, and to what extent will he build it – that’s what is important. And so far, I would say that those decisions must be viewed not in terms of who came or who went, but more in terms of in what field does Putin allow himself to take actions concerning the staff.


“What I mean is, traditionally in our country the power bloc was formed by the President, the Commander-in-Chief, and now Vladimir Putin made an easy and unconstrained statement of the fact that he would be the one to form the power bloc. It doesn’t matter whether Bortnikov is good or bad, or whether Patrushev is good or bad, what matters is that Putin has made this shift.


“Never before have the prime ministers appointed the directors of the FSB (Federal Security Service, former KGB), it has always been the initiative and prerogative of the president. The same thing can be said about Lavrov. Keeping Lavrov at the head of the Foreign Ministry is, in all traditions of the diplomacy, interpreted as succession in foreign policy issues. But president has always been the one to decide whether foreign policy changes or remains the same. And now the premier has solved it just as easily and naturally. So to me it seems like by making these decisions Putin has shown who really runs the show.”


According to the latest reports, another Putin’s man, Vladislav Surkov, has strengthened his positions as well. He has become the first deputy chief of Medvedev’s presidential administration. There are rumors that Putin insisted to appoint Surkov as the chief of the administration, but eventually the post of the head of administration was handed over to another KGB officer, Naryshkin.


Many Russian politicians and political analysts have already expressed their opinions about the new Russian government under Putin’s leadership. They point out that the center of power and decision-making gets shifted to the Government, while the Kremlin is becoming more of a representative structure.


Putin’s men will continue to determine the trend of affairs. In this connection there was an interesting estimate made by president of the so-called Association of Veterans of Alpha Special Forces, Sergei Goncharov, who believes that the functions and powers of Russia’s Security Council will be expanded when Nikolai Patrushev takes the office of the Secretary of the Security Council.


“Patrushev’s appointment to this position is a very serious nomination”, Goncharov said to Interfax news agency. “We should expect the Security Council’s functions to expand, because it will become a more serious grouping that will not only advise, but also influence the situation. Previously Security Council of the Russian Federation was a blurred and amorphous body”.


We would also like to remind that the Russia’s Security Council is directly subordinate to the president of the Russian Federation and till now has not had a serious impact on decision-making. With the coming Putin’s companion to this post the situation could change. In doing so, the formal subordination to the president of Russia will not play any significant part in the new configuration of power.


Meanwhile Western experts believe that Medvedev will not justify the hopes that the West has. Deutsche Welle Radio quotes the opinion that was expressed by the analysts as well as by the average readers, who are saying all in the same spirit that “Operation Successor” only confirms the fears that real changes in Russia are virtually impossible.


One of the DW’s authors writes that the distinctive feature of the Soviet regime was falsehood and substitution of values. Putin, a worthy foster child of the KGB, is continuing to manipulate Russia and its people in the same old manner. Change of president in Russia is just another manipulation by the envious ruler who has put Medvedev in his spot for the only reason that Medvedev is even shorter than him, and after taking all authorities away from him. Medvedev is nothing but an educated puppet used for adorning the deceitful façade.”


Russian politicians in opposition to the Putin regime, in turn, are complaining that the new Russian diarchy is fraught with political instability. Vladimir Ryzhkov, for instance, points out that the “discrepancy between the rhetoric and the life in Russia is bigger than it used to be during the Brezhnev era”, which can in turn lead to unpredictable consequences.


Ruslan Sinbarigov,

Kavkaz Center

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