News / Europe

    Russia’s President Not Revealing Election Plans

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a news conference at a business school in Skolkovo, outside Moscow, Russia,  May 18, 2011
    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a news conference at a business school in Skolkovo, outside Moscow, Russia, May 18, 2011
    James Brooke

    Hundreds of reporters traveled to the outskirts of Moscow for a special news conference by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, thinking he might reveal if he plans to run for re-election, but, his intentions are still not known.

    Mr. Medvedev was coy about running for re-election, but he raised his national profile by talking tough about NATO during what was billed as the first major news conference of his three year presidency.  More than 800 reporters attended the event at a new business school in Skolkovo, a Moscow suburb.  

    Although presidential elections are next March, President Medvedev ducked direct questions on his candidacy.

    He said a news conference was not the right format for an announcement, but added the lack of clarity cannot go on ‘endlessly.’  The 45-year-old president seemed relaxed and self-confident.  Broadcast live, the two-hour session appeared designed to raise his profile nationally.

    In a crowd pleaser for many Russians, the president criticized NATO for planning a missile-defense system for Europe without inviting Russia to take part.  If Washington did not invite Russia to participate in constructing a missile defense shield, he said that Russia would have to increase its nuclear strike capabilities.  He called this “a scenario that would throw us back into the Cold-War era.”

    Any step, whether running for re-election or embarking on an arms race, would have to coordinated with his mentor, Vladimir Putin. Widely viewed as the more powerful of the pair, Prime Minister Putin’s support is seen as essential for the president to run for re-election.

    Although there have been some minor disagreements between the two leaders, both men appear to fear that as soon as an announcement is made, one of them will quickly become a powerless lame duck.  Some analysts speculate that the ruling duo, known here as the tandem, will simply switch jobs.  Mr. Putin will reclaim the presidency and Mr. Medvedev will serve as his prime minister.

    Today, Russia’s president allowed reporters to glimpse a little daylight between the two.

    Mr. Medvedev stressed they have a 20-year friendship and are “really very like-minded”

    But on the issue of the modernization of Russia’s economy, he said he favors a faster pace than the prime minister.

    On the issue of Mikhail Khordokovsky, the jailed oil tycoon, President Medvedev said his release from jail would represent, "Absolutely no danger at all” to Russian society.  Last December, Prime Minister Putin called Khordokovsky a thief and compared him to the American gangster Al Capone.

    At one point, the Russian president said it is wrong for rulers to stay in power for too long.  He said, "No-one stays in power forever, and if anyone has that kind of illusion then they will end badly."

    But he said that in reference to Russia's powerful regional governors, not to the tandem at Russia’s top.  

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora