Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's going on in Russia?

There have been two interesting datapoints(at least) concerning the Putin-Medvedev relation in Russia. Two datapoints: that makes a line.

The first stop is Russia's behavior on Libya. Medvedev has been unusually harsh in advocating for Russia's position on the UN resolution which had been criticized by Putin. From the article at the link,

Mr. Putin said the United Nations Security Council resolution that authorized the attacks was “deficient and flawed.”(...)In general, it reminds me of a medieval call for a crusade
Medvedev responded(remarks available here):

 It is inadmissible to say anything that could lead to a clash of civilisations, talk of ‘crusades’ and so on.
It is interesting to see that there has been no mention of Putin in Medvedev's remarks, probably for strategic ambiguity, but the comments were pretty clear.

So that's it for the first datapoint. If you want more coverage about the "crusade" in Libya, the gaffe-prone new interior minister in France, Claude Gueant, was proud that Nicolas Sarkozy was

heading the crusade to mobilzie the UN security Council, the Arab League and the African Union

and then explains that he was using the second definition of "crusades" in the french dictionaries. Beautiful

Back to Russia. The second datapoint is the removal of some ministers from the direction of Rosneft. This includes the Deputy Prime Minister. Medvedev's economic aide explains that
In many cases these companies’ boards of directors are led by the deputy prime minister or minister who is responsible for regulating the industry

Interestingly, the Financial Times, in an article published today that I can't find on the intertubes, was saying that this was the first sign of a division between Medvedev and Putin, without referring to Libya. In any case, those two datapoints are, in my opinion, immensely interesting, and I don't understand why it is not more of a big deal in western media. There's something happening!

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