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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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