Imagine that, what was inevitable, Putin becomes a candidate of the United Russia for the President of the country. The rivalry ends in the same way as it began – in the caste of power. However, Dmitry Medvedev doesn’t become the Prime Minister, but he goes to the parliament and tries to do what he was doing as President, which is to dress in robes of a loyal and non-confrontational – but still – opposition. For over three years he has gained a strong position and reached the public opinion with ideas that distinguish him from Putin. Modernization, fight against corruption, Russia’s cooperation with the world – these were topics that the middle class has clearly liked. And some have even believed that it might work.
That’s why the variant failed. Medvedev as prime minister will legitimize all Putin’s activities and that was the point. That’s why he must be close to the boss so that he does not have “silly thoughts” on his mind.
Four years ago the Russians were able to choose a different scenario. Without unnecessary pretence they could have quickly changed the Constitution and Putin would still have ruled. Perhaps this wouldn’t be elegant, but at least effective and fast. And the result would be the same.
Why, then, it is how it is? The Russians are masters of charade. They need fairly normal relations with the West and for this a sort of “spectacle of democracy” was needed. So, it took place.
PS. In 2008, after Medvedev’s coronation, in Warsaw there was a popular joke:
“It’s been years. Putin and Medvedev are drinking beer that is about to finish. They look at each other with embarrassment, and Putin says: So, now you are the Prime Minister, so go and get me another one”.Author : Marek Siwiec MEP