Posts Tagged ‘medvedev


End of the cold war: Obama and Medvedev share a burger

Amazing video. Barack Obama brings Dmitri Medvedev to his favourite burger place. The two most powerful people in the world go together to the local fast-food and eat among average citizens… Obviously Russo-American relations are on the way up…


Unmasking a myth : freedom of religion in Russia

I’ve gladly read an AP article today about Russia. Rare enough to be mentioned.

President Medvedev has announced a project of religious teaching at school which will include of course Russian orthodox, but also jews, muslims and even atheist.

Not that bad for a country often depicted as a totalitarian dictatorship…

Of course, no mention of catholicism classes!!! Medvedev’s OK to teach different religions at school, but he does not want too launch a war against the Orthodox church.

Below, an excerpt of the article:

BARVIKHA, Russia — Russia’s president has announced a pilot project in which schoolchildren will have to take classes in religion or secular ethics.

Tuesday’s proposal is part of a Kremlin effort to teach young Russians morals in the wake of a turbulent period of uncertainty following the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union.

President Dmitry Medvedev said preteen students at about 12,000 schools nationwide would take the classes. They will be offered the choice of studying the dominant Russian Orthodox religion, Islam, Buddhism or Judaism; or an overview covering various faiths; or secular ethics.

The offer of a choice appeared aimed to ease concerns that Russian Orthodoxy will be forced on schoolchildren as the church gains influence and tightens ties with the state.


Doves vs hawks: a Kremlin story

moscow-kremlin-5Doves vs hawks is an all-time political story but it has a special flavour when the struggle takes place within the secretive walls of the Kremlin.

During the Soviet era, the struggle was tough and often deadly between “doves” willing to loosen up the socialist system as well as the relations with the Western world, and “hawks” who wanted to dramatize the cold war confrontation and keep Russsia under the very soviet rule.

No ideologies in today’s Russia but the basics remain: nationalism vs liberalism; vertical of power vs (a little more of) democracy.

It is also to say that in Russia the Czar is above these matters and parties, using the strength of both camps when necessary. The czar being Vladimir Putin, he has remained neutral since his first election, picking his closest counselors and ministers in both camps.

Èçáðàííûé ïðåçèäåíò ÐÔ Ä. ÌåäâåäåâIt has been said for a while that the “dove” camp most prominent figure was Dmitri Medvedev. Eventhough he shows since his election that there is also a “hawk” in his very heart, Medvedev still represents the most acceptable type of  Russian politicians for Western countries, and his “nomination by Putin to become president as been felt as an humiliation and an insult by the “hawk” camp, which hoped to see at least a more neutral figure at the presidency.

The “hawks'” key figure is Igor Sechin, a long time close and listened counselor of Putin, who currently is vice-Prime Minister.

sechinSechin is an interesting character and one of the most brilliant politicians in Russia. I guess he imagined he was to replace his mentor as president and I am not sure that Putin’s pick will remain without consequences for their relationships.

Sechin is the man who inspired almost all of Putin’s radical choices during this last decade. A pure Russian nationalist, he has used all of his influence to bring Russia back to business through confrontation, notably with the US.

However, his influence has not been great enough for him to be selected as Putin’s nominee for presidency. I don’t think Sechin has said his last word. He is still in business… and for a long time.


Good cop/Bad cop: the new Russian order

medvedev_putinPeople either describe the relationship between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the President Dmitry Medvedev as purely hierarchical, or on the other hand as a potential struggle for power.

I believe the trend of their relations is somewhere between, perpetually swinging between loyalty and ambition. Not to forget Russia’s vital interests which are sacred for both Putin and Medvedev.

I sometime have the feeling that no one in Western countries take in consideration the fact that they are both true patriots (not to say nationalists!!!).

Im being voluntarily provocative in my posts title. Putin/Medvedevs relation can not be reduced to this Hollywood type duet.

Of course, Vladimir Putins popularity rates abroad have been seriously harmed by the wars in Chechnya and in Georgia, as well as by his steady and aggressive desire to bring Russia back to the front of the international scene.

On the contrary, Dmitry Medvedev is well known in Western chancelleries to be a moderate and somehow liberal man, with whom they believe, it will be easier to work with.

But what are we starting to experience? When it comes to Russia’s strategic interests and greatness, there are no any differences between the two men.

Whenever dealing with a matter touching the very heart of power, the two get perfectly along.

On another hand, we have also witnessed these past weeks a number of hints showing that Medvedev does not intend, if he has ever, to remain any longer in Putin’s shadow.

Few weeks ago, while Putin was at the World Economic Forum in Davos struggling against the US financial imperialism (for once, I think he gave this day a very iinspiring speech), Medvedev met the director of Novaya Gazeta.

It might seem a insignificant gesture, but people shall know that in todays Russia, Novaya Gazeta is the most (if not the only) critical newspaper against Russian authorities. 

Medvedev also ousted four governors since the beginning of the year, who had been appointed by… Putin. It might just be a coincidence, but these are signs in Russia of a more flexible and balanced relationship.

Will it last? Will it succeed? Only future can tell, but it is ignorance to believe that Russia is a monolithic country, fully devoted to Putin.