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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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 Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs