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

Somalia: No Popular Elections in 2016

In interview Wednesday with VOA, President Mohamud says 'one person, one vote' elections will not be possible due to continuing insecurity More

Scientists Predict Climate Change Will Increase Child Malnutrition

Public health expert in Germany says that by 2050, 25 million more children's lives will be put at risk because of lack of nutrients tied to climate change More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs