Tuesday, August 28, is the 100th day of Dmitry Medvedev’s term of premiership. The media summed up the intermediate results of his work as the prime minister. According to experts, this is finally clear that Medvedev is a technical prime minister, and all decisions are taken in the presidential administration. The government did not show yet any major breakthroughs and initiatives.
Economists and political experts, which the RBC daily polled, give grim prospects of the government for the future. According to political expert Alexei Makarkin, when forming the Cabinet Medvedev received the quota for appointments, but the number of appointees did not grow into quality. Many deputy ministers were among the appointees, because the ministers left the government with Putin to the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin’s administration and Dmitry Medvedev’s government actually engaged in an open standoff. This was showed in the fuel and energy sector and among the power-wielding ministries.
“Medvedev managed to appoint his associate, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. But his predecessor Igor Sechin continued to play a more serious role in this sphere. As a result Dvorkovich has to wage a hard struggle. Sechin was appointed as head of the Rosneftegaz board of directors and this came as a surprise for Medvedev’s government or the presidential decree has to be hastily revised with the sweeping powers to Sechin in the presidential commission for the fuel and energy sector or to give leaks in the media of his remarks over the reorganizing and privatization of the energy sector,” Makarkin noted.
The economists are no less pessimistic in the assessments of the Cabinet. “It is a big disappointment,” chief economist of the financial corporation Otkrytie Vladimir Tikhomirov said briefly. This is only two positive aspects, he said. First, the government adheres to the conservative policy in budget drafting, but it is sooner the development of the ideas, which the former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin formulated. The second issue is the entry in the World Trade Organization that can hardly be taken as the merit of the government, because the negotiations lasted 18 years and the documents were signed by the then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
“It is quite early to criticize the government, because the deadline for the tasks, which the president outlined, will expire mainly this autumn. According to some reports, the government is developing actively the projects, but there are some doubts that it can meet the deadlines. The bright example is a pension reform,” Uralsib Capital chief economist Alexei Devyatov said, noting that the government will need the political will to take unpopular measures.
According to experts, the government was initially lame in both legs in terms of image. “The government was taken as provisional, the elite gave only half a year or a year to it and it turned out to be an important psychological aspect. To my mind, the elite has never commented on the government so badly before,” Makarkin said, noting that “many representatives of the elite, who were offered some posts in the Ministry of Education and the Energy Ministry, refused from them.”
The political experts assumed that the incumbent Cabinet failed to give a clear-cut response to the question, how the pension system will be reformed, approve an anti-crisis action plan and make a forecast of socio-economic development in Russia until 2030, the Novye Izvestia daily reported.
“After 100 days it became finally clear that Dmitry Medvedev is a technical prime minister, the government is technical, and the decision-making centre moved in the presidential administration,” expert of the Centre of Political Climate Pavel Salin told the newspaper. According to the political expert, serious reshuffles will most likely be made in the incumbent government this autumn. “Medvedev will retain his post, but his appointees will be dismissed, and Medvedev will turn in a full technical prime minister or will quit big politics,” the expert believes.
The government has some prospects with due account of all transformations, which are outlined now. “Naturally, this will be so until the first deterioration of the socio-economic situation,” the political expert believes. “According to those trends, which had taken shape in the second half of August, the deterioration will take place in autumn all the same. Probably in November or even December, rather than September or October. But the scope of negative factors is becoming obvious, particularly the food deficit, another rise in the tariffs on the public utilities on September 1, the problems at the enterprises in the regions and a strike at the Ural plant. All these problems will be amassed, and the government will have to be responsible for this, most likely already this year,” he underlined.