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Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich gives interview to Larry King

October 10, 2011, 13:48 UTC+3
Arkady Dvorkovich told US journalist Larry King on Saturday that he hopes after the presidential election to join the government under the chairmanship of Dmitry Medvedev
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MOSCOW, October 10 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich told US journalist Larry King on Saturday that he hopes after the presidential election to join the government under the chairmanship of Dmitry Medvedev. According to him, Dmitry Medvedev will continue reforms for many years.

Earlier, RF Prime Minister Vladimir Putin noted that former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin “remains a member of our team and we’ll work with him,” Novye Ivzestiya recalls. In this connection, experts do not rule out that the officials may swap places: Dvorkovich will become the finance minister and Kudrin – presidential economic aide. “Most likely, Dmitry Medvedev will try to form the government of the people whom he trusts and who will implement his program,” the publication quotes Vice President of the National Strategy Institute Viktor Militarev. In this case the invitation to Dvorkovich to take the post of finance minister seems “logical,” he added. But Alexei Kudrin’s return to office, in the view of the expert, is unlikely: “It would be a sharp blow to the reputation of Medvedev himself with whom Kudrin had a conflict.”

Director of the International Institute of Political Expertise Evgeny Minchenko, however, told the Novye Izvestiya newspaper that the Dvorkovich’s chances to head the Finance Ministry declined after he made several incorrect statements in his microblog. “There are no reasons to rejoice,” the official wrote in his Twitter blog after the United Russia congress. “Public demonstration of his ambitions may show that he may not become a government member,” according to Minchenko.

Vedomosti comments on the statement by Arkady Dvorkovich that Dmitry Medvedev will continue the reforms for many, many years – for about 15, maybe more. The figure 15 is somewhat strange - it has 2.5 presidential terms of office, the newspaper notes. But the main thing in the words of Dvorkovich was the assertion that Medvedev will continue the reforms regardless of the position he occupies.

Doubts about the “Medvedev” project have existed throughout his presidency, but the decisive blow was made, certainly, by Vladimir Putin on September 24, 2011, the newspaper writes. After Medvedev’s actual abdication, of which, incidentally, presidential aide Dvorkovich did not know anything in advance, the “Medvedev” project developed a tragic flaw.

The scandalous dismissal of Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin from the government was clearly a self-assertion attempt by Medvedev (“as long as I am the President, I make myself such decisions”). Not completely successful, though, given Putin’s assessment of the conflict between the minister and president as “emotional.” (At the “Russia Calling!” forum on Thursday Putin said Kudrin remains a member of his team). Medvedev himself had to call an unscheduled press conference with the leaders of three Russian TV channels to try to explain the motives of his refusal to run for a second term in office in favour of Putin and the motives for Kudrin’s dismissal. Both sounded not too convincing.

Finally, Medvedev, in accordance with the wish of Mr. Putin had to head the United Russia party, although with a fuzzy ideology but with a clearly conservative and stabilisation line - contrary to the image of the president-reformer with a slight rightwing bias. In order to mobilise its electorate Medvedev urgently took up the housing and public utilities sector and other social issues.

It should be admitted that Dmitry Medvedev launched a number of important reforms, Vedomosti emphasises. They include the reform of the Interior Ministry, criminal legislation, the replacement of governors, the introduction of declaration of income by officials. The effectiveness of these initiatives varies from zero to minimal, barely noticeable figures. The corruption pressure on businesses, including the “force” raiding, continues.

Naturally, nobody has any doubts that in favourable circumstances Medvedev could stay in office for 15 and even 30 years (he will be only 76). But what the real reform has to do with this?

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