Tuesday, December 11, 2007
A year and a half ago, Moscow bloggers had to go all the way to the Zoo to yell "Preved, Medved!" to the bears there. Today, they don't even have to leave their computers - all thanks to president Vladimir Putin's pledge of support to Dmitry Medvedev, first deputy prime minister and the likely 2008 presidential candidate.
Medvedev's last name stems from the Russian word for "bear" - medved' - and Yandex Blogs portal (RUS) lists over 1,500 posts in the Russian blogosphere today that greet him irreverently with "Preved, Medved!" (RUS) and over 1,400 more posts that refer to Medvedev in a more reserved manner (RUS), by what appears to be his semi-official title by now - "the successor."
Anglophone Russia bloggers are also discussing the much-awaited announcement of the person who is likely to become Russia's next president. Below are some of the reactions.
Mark MacKinnon's Blog:
[...] So all hail President Dmitry. There is, of course, the small matter of elections to be sorted out, but you can be sure that the Kremlin - unless this decision creates a major rift behind the red walls - will make sure Putin's man is elected. The liberal opposition is self-destructing anyway, choosing not one, but three candidates to run for the presidency in April.
Medvedev owes Putin everything. If Putin asks him to do something - to make him prime minister, or even to relinquish the presidency because Vladimir Vladimirovich misses the comforts of the Kremlin - he'll do it.
Ruminations on Russia:
The Last Act or Just the Prelude
Google News has links to 108 news feeds announcing that Dmitry Medvedev was nominated to be the Presidential candidate for United Russia and other Kremlin-friendly non-jackal parties; and VVP saw the nomination and thought that it was good.
Too easy, its not going to end just like that. That may be a front for being caught off-guard. The rumour doing the rounds in late summer was that Medvedev had been caught with his hands in the cookie jar and would henceforth be the man running the key cookie jar (GAZP) but would not be running the whole damn thing. [...]
Sean's Russia Blog:
[...] This is still an unfolding story and more will be discussed in the coming days. However, even at these early stages, one thing is clear. No matter what Putin does to show that he’s leaving the Presidency, his very own critics just won’t let him go. As Michael Corleone declared in Godfather III: “Just when I think I’m out, they keep pulling me back in.”
[...] I’m beginning to wonder (and I don’t think I’m alone), though, whether Medvedev could actually be the real deal - that is, a President who actually leads Russia, as Putin slips gently into an early semi-retirement.
Medvedev’s loyalty to Putin means that he is unlikely to turn on his former boss. And, rather like Putin back in 2000, Medvedev is the man nobody can conceive of as being President - no power base, stuck in the middle of warring clans. The perfect man to hold everything together… [...]
Perspectives on the New Russia:
[...] 4. The Russian blogging community has responded with commentary, some of it fairly cynical. A couple of bloggers have suggested that Putin picked Medvedev because he is the only candidate shorter than Putin, others have suggested that they now will be voting for Gazprom to be the new Russian president.
5. Finally, it turns out that Mr. Medvedev - who is a soft spoken and largely wooden on camera particularly in contrast to the more charismatic leaders like Zhirinovskii - as a youth was a major hard rock fan, loving Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin. He also reportedly loves the sound of vinyl records.
The Accidental Russophile:
[...] I very much doubt it will affect any change in the direction of Russia, Inc. In fact, Medvedev's strong business experience and persona lend itself to Russia as the emerging corporate state, a nation that is run like a business. Most analysts tend to cast Medvedev as a liberal - I think this is a mistake. He simply isn't the sort of Russian man who shoots his mouth off to show what a real man he truly is.
[...] Medvedev won't lend himself to the easy, knee-jerk, "He's a fascist" kind of blogging. He doesn't appear to be so vain as to appear shirtless for photos while fishing with some prince. He is unlikely to kiss children on the belly.
In short, the man is a professional.
Scraps of Moscow:
[...] The Russian stock market has surged - Gazprom, where Medvedev is Chairman of the Board, is up 3% - and I have to say that in the imperfect world of Russian politics a smooth transition to a Medvedev administration may be the best possible outcome for anyone concerned about continued growth and stability in Russia. Medvedev's involvement in corporate Russia predates his involvement with Gazprom - he was head of legal affairs at SPB-based timbercompany Ilim Pulp for most of the 1990s - and fits with his the "moderate liberal / technocrat" label generally applied to Medvedev's politics.
The market's favorable reaction to this news may also reflect a sense of relief that the succession process is moving forward.
Looking ahead, this may also be good news for the future of the US-Russian relationship, both because making money is one thing both countries agree on and because of who Medvedev is not - a hawk like Sergei Ivanov. But who knows - the past few months have been all about surprises and the expectation of more surprises [...].