News / Europe

Putin, Medvedev Engage in Rare Public Split Over Libya

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev speaks to the media at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, March 21, 2011
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev speaks to the media at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, March 21, 2011
James Brooke

In a rare split between Russia’s two top leaders, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev calls Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s comments on Libya "unacceptable”  Russia’s ruling duo is like the national symbol, the two-headed eagle.  President Medvedev looks west.  His political mentor, Prime Minister Putin, looks east.  For the last three years, the two have managed to hide their differences and run the country together.

But now public tensions are emerging - over Libya.

Mr. Putin, visiting a military armaments factory, denounced the United Nations resolution allowing military action in Libya as "a medieval call to crusade."

The nations sending war planes on bombing missions to Libya include Britain, France and Italy.  During the Middle Ages, British, French and Italian knights joined Christian crusades against Islamic rulers in the eastern Mediterranean.

In response, President Medvedev donned a leather bomber jacket, and gave a press conference in a pine forest to rebut such loaded language.

He said, "Under no circumstances it is acceptable to use expressions which essentially lead to a clash of civilizations, such as ‘crusade’ and so on."

He defended his government’s decision to abstain on the U.N. resolution - a measure he said was only partly flawed.  In fact, he said, "I do not believe this resolution to be wrong."

A few hours earlier, Mr. Putin had called the resolution "defective and flawed."

Fyodor Lyukanov, editor of Russian in Global Affairs magazine, said it sounded as if Mr. Putin found Russia’s failure to veto the resolution offensive. "It looks like Putin felt obliged to publicly differentiate his position from Medvedev’s, because Medvedev’s decision to abstain in the Security Council was probably not what Putin would like to see as [a] Russian vote," he said.

Mr. Putin, on a tour of a ballistic missile assembly line in central Russia, delved even further into foreign policy.  "This U.S. policy is becoming a stable trend," he said.

Citing American air strikes on Belgrade and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, "Now it is Libya’s turn under the pretext of protecting civilians.  Where is the logic and the conscience?  There is neither."

Back in Moscow, Mr. Medvedev stressed to his pool of reporters that Western military action in Libya is "the result of the appalling behavior of the Libyan leadership and the crimes it committed against its own people."

One year from now, Russians are to vote for president.  Today, political watchers are scrutinizing the tandem for cracks that might point to the next official candidate.

The Obama administration is making little secret of its preference for Mr. Medvedev.  When U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Moscow two weeks ago, he showered praise on Russia’s president, and quoted him approvingly seven times in his major address here.

On Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is to meet in Moscow with President Medvedev and other high officials.  His schedule does not list a meeting with Prime Minister Putin.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid