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Why Dmitry Medvedev stands down to Vladimir Putin

October 03, 2011, 11:51 UTC+3

“Prime Minister Putin, surely, is the most popular politician in this country at the moment, and his rating is a bit higher,” said Dmitry Medvedev

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MOSCOW, October 3 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s newspapers comment actively on the interview, which Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev gave on Friday to three federal TV channels. He explained why he decided not to run for the second term and suggested the candidature of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. “Prime Minister Putin, surely, is the most popular politician in this country at the moment, and his rating is a bit higher,” he said. Dmitry Medvedev has almost always been inferior to Vladimir Putin in popularity, and his position in the tandem has been unfavourable, social and political analysts say. However, they say, ratings have not played any special role here. 

For all four years, social services have been rating Putin and Medvedev and say now that in 2011 their ratings were close, but Putin has been leading practically all the time, the Vedomosti writes. In beginning of the current year, the Levada Centre and VCIOM report, the tandem’s ratings slumped, but the difference in three points still remained. Before May, the president’s rating demonstrated certain stability of 69-70 percent of approvals, and that of prime minister went down by three points. Since May the situation began to change: Putin’s rating was gaining, and that of Medvedev went down. 

Deputy Head of the Levada Centre polling organisation Alexei Grazhdankin explains it by beginning of the relative election campaign: Medvedev was active and the nation began to get disappointed with the activity. From the electoral point of view, the biggest disappointment about Medvedev happened as his promises did not meet practical results, political scientist Alexander Kynev said.

“Putin’s rating is higher, this is true, but the difference is not big,” the Kommersant quotes political scientist Boris Makarenko as saying. “With the rating Medvedev had he would be able to win the election without problems, so the reasons are not convincing. It is clear that they belong to one party. Should there be presidential primaries, Putin would be most likely to win. The question is different: what was wrong that Medvedev did which made Putin come back.” Makarenko added that “the thesis that it is necessary to support each other is great, but do they realise that without renovations the power becomes stiffens and looses effectiveness in any system.” 

As yet, experts find difficulty in forecasting changes, the Kommersant stresses. Deputy Director of RAN’s IMAEMO, member of INSOR’s Board Evgeny Gontmakher explained to the newspaper: “The essence of our present political life is exactly in the fact that nobody knows anything beforehand. Decisions are made last minute following tough backstage compromises.” The expert is adamant that “it is even difficult to understand what will be happening in the remaining months of Medvedev’s presidency,” because “after the situation with Kudrin one starts thinking that anything is possible. All politics has shrunk to two persons, who know what is ahead. This is not modern.”

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishes an article called “Russia, Backwards!” where it analyses how Dmitry Medvedev has fulfilled his programme promises. Two years earlier, in his famous article called “Russia, Forwards!”, Dmitry Medvedev stated necessary changes in the economy, politics, and social life, the newspaper writes. In the recent interview he said it turns out he does not have disputes with the party of power. Neither in strategy, nor in tactics. Even despite the fact that the problems, outlined by Medvedev in September of 2009, are still far from being solved.

“Should we continue pulling into our future the primitive raw materials’ economy, the chronicle corruption, the inveterate habit of relying in settlement of problems on the state, on those abroad, on some ‘mighty theory’, on whatever but ourselves?” Medvedev asked the nation back in 2009. He classified in full detail the country’s problems, which he seemed to be intending firmly to settle over his presidency. Now we know that he is leaving the position. However, not a single target is hit. 

“Our current economy has inherited from the Soviet times a most dramatic drawback – it ignores to a major extent demands of people,” Medvedev said then. What has changed since then? One of the results of the presidency: over one year – since 2010 – the official level of poverty has grown by almost two and a half million to 21 million.

“The civil society is weak, the levels of self-organisation and self-management are not high,” Medvedev said. Over two past years, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports, not a single new political party was registered. PARNAS failed to pass the Justice Ministry, run by Alexander Konovalov, who is considered to be a man of the presidential team. The so-called non-system opposition still does not have an access to state channels, and the process of its marginalisation is growing.

 Neither the president, not the political community feels the danger of the situation, head of the Effective Politics Foundation Gleb Pavlovsky said. “The coalition ‘Russia, Forward!’ is ruined,” no matter whether it was bad or good, smart or silly… This ruining organised a vacuum, where the ‘Russia, Backwards!’ coalition is emerging. Pavlovsky explains the reason in the fact that Medvedev had failed to turn his course into a political programme. “The television address practically announces the president being non-authoritative, as it was claimed that the one authoritative is Putin, thus Medvedev has repudiated, whether he realises it or not, his programme.”

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