Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe

For a long time the public opinion in the world believed that in Russia there were two roles written out: Putin – the tough guy, and Medvedev – the liberal. The recent demonstrations have supposedly created additional reasons supporting this thesis. I do not believe it.

The two men are playing exactly the same card and – depending on situation – they show more or less “human” face. There is nothing to be excited about as for Putin or Medvedev’s statements, since they jointly decided that tens thousands of people on Sakharov Avenue would not sweep away those two from the political scene. So they are pretending that nothing happened. This does not mean, however, that they have stopped thinking.

The most serious consequence of the Russian revival is the resignation of the first deputy chief of administration Vladislav Surkov who previously was regarded as Kremlin’s grey eminence. He created the doctrine of sovereign democracy, which in fact represented a velvet cover for heavy-handed Putin. He also created an image of Putin himself – a man able to tame the oligarchs and take pity on the nation’s fate. Putin, loved by women, admired by men. The statesman, who does not hesitate to say a swear word when necessary.

In almost every administration there is one practical “kingmaker”. Prime Minister Tusk has such a person in his team (Igor Ostachowicz), so did George W. Bush (Karl Rove). The departure of Surkov, Putin’s kingmaker, could represent a chance for a new opening in the Russian policy. The end of television shows and nice pictures – Putin with a tiger, Putin on horseback, Putin in a jet, Putin on submarine… everywhere.

We will see the real course of events during the presidential campaign. If Putin notices the dissatisfied people, he will win in the long run. If he continues the following rate, there might be troubles.


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