Face to face with Medvedev

June 25, 2008

Medvedev gestures during interview What makes Russian President Dmitry Medvedev tick? How independent is he of his predecessor, Vladimir Putin?
Medvedev gave Reuters a chance to find out more about his plans, and get some clues about the questions being asked by Russia watchers, analysts and diplomats, by granting us an interview in the Kremlin.
During a 90-minute question-and-answer session he played down differences with Putin, his long-time ally who is now prime minister, and portrayed himself as a continuity figure but the contrast in style and tone between the two men was striking.
Medvedev made none of the harsh attacks on the West that became Putin’s trademark and used considered, lawyerly phrases that sounded quite unlike Putin’s more direct and earthy language.
Medvedev said Russia’s foreign policy would not be swayed by criticism from abroad, but added that complaints about its policy were normal. He avoided echoing Putin by making charges of Western hypocrisy and double standards.
But he did sound more like Putin when discussing Russia’s media, saying television channels, newspapers and websites were “absolutely free” and dismissing any possibility of special controls on the media in Russia.
Some analysts think Medvedev is a deliberately more liberal choice than Putin who can usher in an era of greater freedom, private property and foreign investment. Others view him with suspicion as little more than a Putin puppet.

 What do you think?

One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Russia is set to surpass Saudi Arabia as the leading hydrocarbon exporter this next year and more billionaires in Moscow than anywhere else on Earth in 2008, not to mention a tripling of GDP growth year-over-year since Putin came to power in 2000 that dwarfs the West. Russia is back in a major league way no matter how it’s dished under the Soviet system or the Revanchist Social Controlled Capitalist version … politically or militarily, Tsarist or totally Russified under the Putinist Socialist-Yet Capitalist Federated Republican structure or Medvedev. Many speak of the largest country in the world as it were the Bahamas – remember they can still retarget and obliterate half-the-planet in 30 minutes and are verifiably rebuilding much to the annoyance of the West … so it’s not surprising to hear normal poppycock from the Western mediated and medicated yuppified media of the lack of freedoms enjoyed by who … The Sun of London in tabloid journalism – that era ended with Yeltsin who rightfully deserves credit as well as critics for the way he handled the dissolving of Russia’s USSR. Russian and Sviet respect from WW2 comes from the fact that the Red Army and Soviet Russia lost more than 30 million people in war caused by Nazi Germany … and liberated more than half of the European Continent as so-called Communists! That again dwarfs the Western Allies and probably even the amount of Holocaust by Hitler vs. Soviet/Russian casualties. Imagine the Germans fighting the US back to the Mississippi River – losing control of the East Coast for a year or so, having the largest tank battle in history across the entire Mid-Atlantic US, laying siege to Chicago (aka … Stalingrad … now Volgograd and perhaps New York … aka … Leningrad … again Petrograd ??? for another year) … all out war in most of North America and losing 30 million people in the process as they battled their way across the Atlantic all the way to Berlin? There lies your answer – no need for Salon.com!
The sudden collapse of the USSR and subsequent opening of the region has led to an intense investment and development scramble by international oil companies. A key problem to further development in the region is the status of the Caspian Sea and the establishment of the water boundaries among the five littoral states. Also: much controversy currently exists over the proposed Trans-Caspian oil and gas pipelines. These projects would allow western markets easier access to Kazakh oil, and potentially Uzbek and Turkmen gas as well. NOTE here also: the US has given its support for the pipelines. Russia officially opposes the project on environmental grounds. Analysts note that the pipelines would bypass Russia completely (that will not happen/nor will Russia allow it – because of the giant Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil – who will soon overtake the Western Major Oil Cos. soon in value and size (and they are all quasi-Soviet) … denying Russia and ex-Soviet states valuable transit fees, as well as destroying current Russian monopoly on westward-bound hydrocarbon exports from the region is a `war we won’t win’ … unless we follow John McCain’s 100 Year Bush-Cheney plan of liberty – now entitled by McCain as `Rogue States Rollback’ …. it seems the New Cold War has begun?
Folks in the naive West and media, to put bluntly … the conflict between Russia and former Tsarist regions is 500 years older than the discovery of America – so we should mind our own biz, stop expanding NATO as agreed to in the 1990 CFE treaty which Russia has honored since the disintegration of the USSR and the US/NATO have not. Russian reemergence as an energy and military Superpower disturbs us in the West … so some journalists begin speculating in the West, as the West normally does in its own terms – not historically. The Medvedev, Putin … the Russian and former Soviet peoples will work out their own terms and we should let them do just that instead of wooing them to NATO. This is idiotic anyways if we say the `Cold War’ is truly over … the US wants NATO to replace the UN as the World Enforcing Body, no doubt – but is a nuclear war worth it. We need to concentrate on extracting ourselves from a trillion USD mistake in Iraq before we worry too much about integrating the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. Just remember … the Red Army and the Russians/USSR lost 31 million people in WW2 and bore the brunt of defeating Nazi Germany again – any conventional war with them will prove the same result to the West … and smart bombs will be used by both sides, but the numbers lie with the 100 plus Russian Divisions, 15 million troops, tactical nukes and 20000 tanks.

Posted by JohnOsborneNY | Report as abusive