Over to you
Dmitry Medvedev, the presidential candidate that is most likely to become Russia's next president, has announced that if he's elected president next March, he will appoint Vladimir Putin as the country's Prime Minister. Medvedev says this move will ensure the continuation of successful policies which helped overcome economical and social problems.
Putin will be my Prime Minister: Medvedev (Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Bwfw...&oe=UTF-8&hl=e
IN SOME countries the suspense of a presidential election is based on the question of who is going to win a popular poll. In Russia it centres on who the outgoing president (in this case Vladimir Putin) picks as his successor. On Monday December 10th the winner was announced. Dmitry Medvedev, a 42-year-old lawyer from Mr Putin’s native St Petersburg is almost certain to become the next president in March. He is the chairman of Gazprom, the state-controlled gas monopoly and the deputy prime minister in charge of national projects. But what qualifies him for the job of Russia’s president is his (so far) unconditional loyalty to the current president. Mr Putin has two daughters, but appointing Mr Medvedev is the next best thing to his appointing a son.
The choreography of Mr Putin’s announcement speaks volumes about Russia’s virtual democracy. On Monday Mr Putin received Boris Gryzlov, the leader of the Kremlin’s own United Russia party which scored 64% in this month’s parliamentary elections. Mr Gryzlov told Mr Putin that United Russia, having consulted with other pro-Kremlin parties, would like to nominate Mr Medvedev as a candidate for the presidency. A chorus of friendly politicians echoed him. Mr Putin blessed their choice. “I fully and entirely support this candidate,” Mr Putin told them. “I have known Mr Medvedev and worked closely and fruitfully with him for 17 years.” The show, broadcast on the main television channels, was designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of the exercise. But to all intents and purposes Mr Medvedev is an extension of Mr Putin. The two men studied law at the same university in St Petersburg and then worked at the same mayoral office. Mr Medvedev followed Mr Putin to Moscow and ran his presidential campaign. Since then, Mr Medvedev has always been at Mr Putin's side.
By appointing him as successor Mr Putin achieves two results. One is that Mr Medvedev will most likely lead the country along the path already set by Mr Putin. The other is that Mr Putin himself will retain influence when his term expires in less than three months. Nor is Mr Medvedev the worst choice. He does not have a KGB background, unlike many trusted by Mr Putin. And he is considered as a relative liberal within Mr Putin’s entourage. He did not appear to support the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Yukos chief, and he did not subscribe to the concept of “sovereign democracy”, saying that democracy did not need adjectives. Yet he has been closely tied with all of Mr Putin’s decisions. Only Mr Putin knows just how much independence Mr Medvedev is likely to have, and how much influence Mr Putin himself is likely to keep, after the presidential elections in March. But having led United Russia to a landslide victory in the parliamentary election, Mr Putin is likely to become a Deng Xiaoping-type figure within Russian politics. Mr Medvedev, publicity shy and soft-spoken will probably rely on Mr Putin’s authority at least in dealing with the security services.
The timing of Mr Medvedev's elevation is also intriguing. It came earlier than many had expected. The rumour in Moscow had been that the anointment would take place next week at the congress of United Russia. One explanation is that infighting between various Kremlin clans had reached such a pitch that the situation was becoming unstable. Security chiefs were fighting among themselves and collectively against more liberal figures in the government (a deputy finance minister was arrested on bogus charges and, despite a plea from Alexei Kudrin, the finance minister, was refused bail). Mr Medvedev will have to tread carefully: the Kremlin is far from being a stable political structure. He may also have problems with the economy. Mr Putin was extraordinary lucky over the past eight years. The oil and gas bonanza earned Russia almost $1 trillion. But now inflation is running in double figures just as fears of recession in America and other parts of the world threaten to push oil prices downwards again. Yet Mr Medvedev may not worry greatly. Mr Putin remains on hand to guide his apprentice. And whether he fails or not, popular Mr Putin may yet decide, one day, to step back into power.
Mr. Gazprom For Russia
After months of waiting, the world finally knows the name of the man who will likely head one of the world's most powerful countries: Dmitry Medvedev, the chairman of natural gas giant Gazprom and first deputy prime minister of Russia, has been tapped by President Vladimir Putin as his successor. "We would like to nominate the candidate that we all support. This is first Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev," Boris Gryzlov, the State Duma speaker and head of the ruling United Russia party was quoted as saying by Russia's RIA Novosti. Putin, pledged his "full" support for Medvedev, who will be formally nominated as presidential candidate on Dec. 17. Shares in Gazprom (other-otc: OGZPY - news - people ) rallied to close 2.7%, higher on Monday in Moscow, while Lukoil ended the day up 2.2%. Russia's MICEX stock index closed up 1.7%, at 1,945.53 points. The Market Vector Russian Exchange Traded Fund was up 3.4%, or $1.77, at $53.85, in New York on Monday afternoon.
Analysts weren't entirely surprised at the choice of Medvedev. For for the last few months it had been a toss up between him and Sergei Ivanov, who was appointed by Putin to be prime minister last September. Medvedev, 42, is relatively young, and analysts see his appointment as an attempt by Putin to create some flexibility for himself in the coming years, leaving the option open for him to either become an elder statesman on the international stage, or run again for the Russian presidency in 2012. "Medvedev has only a moderately strong personality, which will allow Putin to keep influence for as long as he wants," said Cliff Kupchan, a director at Eurasia group. "He is quite young, and his relationship with Mr. Putin is kind of a teacher-student, father-son relationship," said Eurasia Group analyst Denis Maslov. "Medvedev looks up to Putin, and Putin takes care of Medvedev. It's a very warm, personal relationship." Though he is young and brimming with ideas, analysts thus believe that Medvedev, as a protege, will let Putin excercise the influence he wants to. But Putin is still in an unprescedented situation: Never before in Russia's history has a president so popular had to step down so soon.
Russian 'Bear' Who Loves Black Sabbath Set to Succeed Putin
The man backed by Vladimir Putin for next year's presidential election is a heavy-metal loving 42-year-old whose surname comes from the Russian word for 'bear'. First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was nominated by the ruling United Russia party and three other smaller pro-Kremlin parties on Monday afternoon. President Putin later said on national television: "I have known Dmitry Medvedev well for over 17 years, and I completely and fully support his candidature." In view of Putin's high popularity rating and full support of most of the legislature, his backing of the nomination is likely to guarantee Medvedev the presidency.
Medvedev's surname comes from the Russian word 'medved', meaning bear, an animal which has long been associated with the country. The bear is also the symbol of United Russia, and Bear bombers have contributed to increasing tension between the West and Russia of late with their strategic long-range patrols. In a recent interview with the Russian magazine Itogi, Medvedev revealed his passion for rock music, saying that, "vinyl really sounds better than CDs." The man who may well become leader of the largest nation on Earth said he had spent much of his youth compiling cassettes of popular Western groups, "Endlessly making copies of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple."
All these groups were on state-issued blacklists during Medvedev's Soviet-era schooldays. "The quality was awful, but my interest colossal," he said. Medvedev went on to boast of his collection of Deep Purple LPs, saying that he had searched for the albums for many years. "Not reissues, but the original albums," he added, concluding that, "If you set yourself a goal you can achieve it." Medvedev, seen as a pro-business moderate, chairs the board of Russia's state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom and is overseeing an ambitious multi-billion-dollar "national project" to improve living standards in the country.
Medvedev to Hand Baton Back to Putin
Dmitry Medvedev, named by Vladimir Putin as his preferred successor as president, said on Tuesday he would appoint Mr Putin as his prime minister should he be elected in next March’s poll. Analysts said the announcement was another sign Mr Putin could remain the power behind the scenes at least for an initial transition period, while the younger, more inexperienced Mr Medvedev took over the presidency. Mr Medvedev said that he would ask Mr Putin to take the post of prime minister as a way of ensuring continuity in the country’s economic and political course. “I consider it principally important for our country to keep in the most important position in executive power – in the post of chairman of the Russian government – Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin,” Mr Medvedev said in brief televised remarks on Tuesday. The announcement came just one day after Mr Putin endorsed Mr Medvedev, a soft-spoken ally from St Petersburg, as his preferred successor as president, in a move hailed by investors as signaling a continuation of Mr Putin’s policies by a figure seen as less hawkish than his potential rivals for the post.
The wheels for Russia’s tricky transfer of power were set in motion just one week after Mr Putin’s United Russia party won a landslide majority in parliamentary elections. Mr Putin said before the elections that victory for United Russia would give him the “moral right” to retain influence in the country, while United Russia’s leader Boris Gryzlov said on the night of the elections that the vote count granted Mr Putin the right to remain as “national leader.” Sergei Markov said the tandem of Mr Medvedev as president and Mr Putin as prime minister would leave Mr Putin with more leverage, at least for an initial period, because Mr Medvedev had no experience of dealing with the crucial “power ministries” – the Interior and Defence Ministries, the secret services and the prosecutor general’s office. “This means the team will remain,” he said. Putin will retain leverage he will also have the parliamentary majorty behind him. Medvedev will be the head of executive power. But he will not have experience with the siloviki. They will continue to see Putin as their de facto leader. "Putin will remain the real leader,” he said.
In his first comments since being forwarded for the presidency, Mr Medvedev said one of his first priorities as president would be to raise living standards. “We need to sharply lower poverty, create a contemporary health and education system and decide the most complicated problems of accommodation, and achieve a new quality of life in the villages,” he said in a televised address on Tuesday. But in a nod to the more hawkish, confrontational wing of the Kremlin, he underlined Russia’s increasingly assertive role in the world. “Russia has become different – stronger and better-off. We are respected and our opinion is reckoned with,” he said. “We are not educated as if we were school children.” Sergei Ivanov, the first deputy prime minister seen as one of his main rivals as Mr Putin’s preferred successor threw his backing behind Mr Medvedev. “”I want to say that I knew of this decision beforehand.. and I supported and support this decision now,” he told journalists on Tuesday.