Sunday, February 17, 2008
Comparing the run up to Russia's elections to the noise and hoopla of the American brawl, makes them seem much more dignified. This is because there is no urgent need for a "change" in the Kremlin. People in Russia don't want that. They want a steady leadership that will not allow the country to slide into chaos.
However, listening to Dimitry Medvedev speak it seems as if he is desperate to appease the west by making all the right sounds - protection of personal property, freedom of press, protection of personal freedom, tax cuts to stimulate certain areas of growth, an increase in pensions to keep up with inflation. Many of these policies seem out of step with Putin's, and he is at pains to point out that he is not Putin's man.
The heir apparent to Russia's throne, Dimitry Anatolyvitch Medvedev, said on Friday that his programme would include reforming the tax system to support economic growth. He will also work towards making the country's judiciary independent from government control and he promised to further clean up the executive and legislative branches of power.
Speaking in Krasnoyarsk, Medvedev, 42, repeated his earlier promises to protect personal freedoms and an independant media.
In contrast to the more forthright Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, he did not mention the military or Russia's rising military powers.
On the issue of the United States, Medvedev talked about co-operation and did not mention a huge gap between the countries' ideals on issues such as the US missile defence shield, and Kosovo.
Putin, on the other hand, was making his intentions crystal clear.
"We consider that the one-sided support of a declaration of independence by Kosovo is not moral or right," he said at a press briefing on Thursday. "Are you not ashamed in Europe of the double standards you are applying to settle the problem?"
On the missile issue he said; "Who asked the Czechs or the Poles if they want to have these systems on their land. Who asked them? In my understanding these countries are not thrilled about these systems".
Responding to the accusations of a power struggle with Poland he pointed out that Russia has not taken a single action to worsen ties with Poland. “We provide Poland with all of the energy resources it needs, without any limitations, without any cut offs... and we do not plan to cut anything off in the future."
But he did say that Russia had asked the parties of the missile crisis to stop, and no one had taken note. He once agained warned that Russia would repond "appropriately" if the missiles were deployed.
It seems that Dima Anatolyovitch is a much softer, more diplomatic man than Putin. Is this perhaps because of his age, and does he have what it takes to manage a country like Russia?
As he said last month "We need to understand clearly: If we want to become a civilized state, first of all we need to become a lawful one."