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Dmitry Medvedev analyses in interview with the media his presidency and comments on the Magnitsky case

January 28, 2013, 10:43 UTC+3

PM said why over the presidency he did not manage to decline the corruption or to make an independent judicial system or to diversify the economy

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Having returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave several interviews to the Russian and foreign media, where he, among other issues, commented on the Magnitsky Act adopted in the US, which he called as being of no interest to the businesses and being too politicised. Medvedev also said why over the presidency he did not manage to decline the corruption or to make an independent judicial system or to diversify the economy.

Dmitry Medvedev began his interview with the Vesti Nedeli /News of Week/ television programme with explanations why the government cannot base its activities on the public opinion, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. He said, the most important aspect is “reasonability”: “Following everything voiced in the streets would be irresponsible. The country’s leaders should be based on the public opinion but should follow the reasonability.”

However, biggest feedback came after his abrupt comment on the case on the strange death of the Hermitage Capital Management’s auditor Sergei Magnitsky, the newspaper stresses. The prime minister is convinced the case is of no interest to the businesses: “But for, probably, certain people who gain their political capital using the case.”

Medvedev stressed that the “Magnitsky topic” is “rather sorrowful, as it is connected with the death of a person.” However, he spoke about the Magnitsky Act, adopted in the US, as “absolutely illegal, meaning its compliance with international conventions and the doctrine of the international sovereignty:” “This is why we have to react to it.”

Human rights activists told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta they were surprised unpleasantly with Medvedev’s statements, as it was he who used to order a detailed report on the lawyer’s death. “Our investigation has demonstrated that the lawyer died not from heart problems, but from having beaten up,” an author of the report, Head of Moscow’s Public Supervisory Commission Valery Borshchev said. “However, the court has demonstrated it is not going to clear out the true reasons of Sergei Magnitsky’s death. A similar approach is in the corruption aspect of the case – the billions of roubles are missing from the budget, and it was not money of Hermitage, it was the money of Russian taxpayers.”

Why during his presidency Medvedev failed to lower the corruption or to organise an independent judicial system or to diversify the economy, he explained in an interview with Switzerland’s the Neue Zurcher Zeitung. The prime minister confirmed that over this presidency he failed to overcome the corruption. He forecasted over next five years a complete victory there was not probable: “The problem cannot be solved by orders and laws. It may be solved only by systematic work of all authorities and the civil society.” The prime minister avoided responding to the question from the newspaper about connection between the anti-corruption campaign and the investigation regarding former Defence Minister Anatoly Serdukov by having explained that his comments could be taken as a signal to the judicial system.

Head of the Centre for Political Technologies Igor Bunin said in an interview with the Nezavisimaya Gazeta that Medvedev had tried too hard to prove his loyalty to President Vladimir Putin. The expert explained that by the controversial position on the Magnitsky case, the investigation of which Medvedev had pushed for while being the president. To leave alone the statement about the impossible competition for presidency with Vladimir Putin. At the same time, results of Medvedev’s presidency could have been not that poor, should he remained for the second term and completed his activities, Bunin said. “There was a certain break for the civil society, a sort of a hint about a political reform, which has been implemented only partly. Medvedev managed to ease to an extent the tough vertical of the power partially due to the financial crisis, and it would not be possible from now on to restore it.”

Reporters could not have avoided the question about the analyses of the ministers, which came from anonymous officials of the presidential administration, the Moskovsky Komsomolets writes. The Izvestia daily published the analyses in the middle of January, the newspaper reports. The article quoted the Kremlin’s some anonymous officials as saying that seven ministers are working hard, nine – stably, while five ministers got the “low effectiveness” grade.

While commenting on the article, Dmitry Medvedev said: “Any government, any ministers, any officials are analysed, and it is only normal.” At the same time, the prime minister stressed work of ministers should be analysed “based on the real situation.”

“And, clearly, we should rather avoid whatever grades, and should base on the ideas or criteria offered by the power or by the expert community. The results you are quoting seem to be sort of fabricated, but anyway, every person has a right for own views,” the prime minister said in conclusion.


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