News / Europe

Analysts Say Medvedev-Putin Job Swap No Surprise

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wave during a United Russia party congress in Moscow, September 24, 2011.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wave during a United Russia party congress in Moscow, September 24, 2011.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev will swap jobs next year with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. In this report from Washington, senior correspondent Andre de Nesnera looks at the ramifications of such a move.

Expectations

Russian political experts say the announcement that Vladimir Putin will run for president in next year’s elections while Dmitri Medvedev will become prime minister in a new government took no one by surprise.

“People have been puzzling over what was going to happen, knowing that it would be between the two of them for some time, and a lot of people for sometime have thought Putin intended to come back," said Robert Legvold, a Russia expert at Columbia University. "Remember two years ago when they extended the presidential term [from four to six years], the assumption was that had been pushed through so that Putin could come back even earlier than a regular constitutional election. So it’s been around for some time.”

Elections

Many Russia analysts say the job swap between Medvedev and Putin transforms the March presidential elections into a farce.

But Matthew Rojansky, a Russia expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, looks at it from a different angle.

“I don’t think that they are any more or less of a farce than they would have been," he said. "Remember, the problem here is not that you have Putin running or not running - or Medvedev running. The problem is that you don’t have full access to participatory political resources for all of the political forces in society.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, gestures as he and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin walk at the presidential residence in Zavidovo, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) north of Moscow, Russia (File Photo).
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, gestures as he and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin walk at the presidential residence in Zavidovo, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) north of Moscow, Russia (File Photo).


Analysts say over the years, the Russian leadership has consolidated its power by controlling most of the media and stifling political opposition. That is why experts say Putin is expected to win the election and probably be re-elected six years later, keeping him in power until 2024.

“The kind of power that he exercises with or without a formal office hasn’t existed since Stalin," said Matthew Rojansky. "Putin has this level of cult of personality and political power that he exercises just through his personality that’s unlike anything else.”

Popular Putin

Many analysts say Putin is very popular throughout Russia.

But Robert Legvold says the Russian government is not.

“It may be one of the reasons why he’s resuming the presidency because I think he hopes that he can turn his personal popularity into support for the regime, for the government and for the policies that it is pursuing," he said. "Because there is quite a difference in what the polls show us in people’s attitudes toward him personally as opposed to the political environment or the political situation in Russia.”

Team work

In the end, many experts, including Matthew Rojansky, believe the two men work as a team.

“'Tandem’ is the right word for the system. I think Putin at some point in 2007 [as president] said ‘I need a crutch here, I can’t do all of this myself. I need for public relations purposes, for management purposes I need a loyal servant,’ said Rojansky. "And I think Medvedev became that guy and I think they work as a team. It’s not a team of equals, but I think it’s a team. And so the fact that Medvedev sat in the Kremlin for the last four years, I think is relatively less significant than the fact that he was a member, he was the junior partner in the tandem, and he will remain that.”

Analysts say the Putin/Medvedev team faces some daunting tasks ahead such as modernizing the country’s institutions, opening up the political system and fighting corruption. But many experts question whether the two men will tackle those issues because they really haven’t done so up to now.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More