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
TEXT SIZE - +

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.  


James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid