Sunday, April 10, 2011

Russian follow-up

The Economist has an article summarizing the situation between Medvedev and Putin in Libya, related to one of my post of last week. To summarize, there are three recent developments that are pointing to a imminent showdown. Note that I don't understand the third:
- Medvedev rebuked Putin on Libya(see my discussion on the post here). One thing I did not mention was that
Mr Medvedev’s team managed to reverse the coverage of Libya on Channel One, Russia’s main television channel, which is controlled by Mr Putin’s friends. It apparently took just one telephone call from the Kremlin to switch the tone from vehemently anti-Western to broadly neutral 
- The Rosneft story mentioned on my post seems to be part or a larger plan
On March 30th Mr Medvedev ordered government ministers to vacate their seats on the boards of state firms. He set a deadline of October 

- Finally, the point I don't understand:
A final, if more indirect, sign of political infighting is a reshuffling of some assets (roads, television, energy) into the hands of Mr Putin’s friends and acquaintances. 
Interestingly, the article then focuses on the growing unpopularity of the two men, and the government mistrust sentiment rising in Russia:
Opinion polls show a drop in both Mr Putin’s and Mr Medvedev’s ratings. An increasing number of Russians say that their country is moving in the wrong direction.(...)A report by the Centre for Strategic Research, a think-tank close to the government, says that people’s mistrust of the system as a whole is growing; that the Kremlin is losing legitimacy; and that a political crisis in Russia is now under way. 

From a description of the report in the Telegraph
The past year has seen an onset of a "political crisis" in Russia as ratings of Mr Medvedev, Mr Putin, and the ruling party United Russia fell by 12, 21, and 18 per cent, respectively, it said. 

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