Putinania

Russian Politics, & Personalities

Pavel Baev

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has a great piece on the Tandemocracy.  He addresses several topics that I have mentioned in previous posts.

First,

The common opinion is that this claim for leadership [in Medvedev’s Gazeta article] can only be taken seriously if it is accompanied by action; but Medvedev escaped from this self-laid trap by departing on his state visit to Switzerland, followed by his trip to the United States.

In paragraph 5, Baev brings up the issue of replacements, and Yury Luzhkov:

The immediate problem for Medvedev is the reshuffling of the cadre that would demonstrate his authority to “hire-and-fire,” which is the main source of power in any bureaucratic system. Replacement of several governors does not quite fit the bill, because the real proof can only be delivered by promoting new people to the higher echelons of federal bureaucracy, while among the regional leaders, the key figure is Moscow’s Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who defends his turf with fierce determination and controls tighter than ever the forthcoming elections to the city Duma (Kommersant-Vlast, September 28).

There are only so many people Medvedev can fire (though I do not exactly like to use that word in reference to the Tandemocracy).  People who are out? Anyone in the Power Ministries really.  These include: Rashid Nurgaliyev, Nikolai Patrushev, Anatoly Serdyukov, and Alexander Bortnikov.  I still hold that the next to go will most likely be Yuri Chaika (possibly after Medvedev’s speech to the Duma next month).

As I’ve discussed previously, Luzhkov’s hold on Moscow is too strong to get rid of him.  I would not rule out Gromov, however.

Baev writes on the happenings in the Executive Office in paragraph 6:

Medvedev may be a master of Kremlin intrigue, but he is clearly stuck with the dilemma of having too few loyalists, who remain rather indifferent to the ideology of “innovation,” and mistrust the awakening reformers who would never prove sufficiently loyal. The Institute of Contemporary Development (INSOR) has tried to position itself as the key think-tank for Medvedev’s strategy, but their economic recommendations are combined with a plea to sack Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the presidential administration, who is in charge of PR (Ekho Moskvy, October 2). Medvedev, however, remains reluctant to relax control over the crucial media instrument –the three national television channels– and keeps Surkov close, not daring even to replace the top speechwriter (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 30).

There’s a lot of information here, so let’s break it up.  “…[Medvedev] is clearly stuck with the dilemma of having too few loyalists, who remain rather indifferent to the ideology of “innovation,” and mistrust the awakening reformers who would never prove sufficiently loyal.”

What Baev seems to be saying is that Medvedev is being pulled in two directions.  First by the Ciliviki (the lawyers, and bureaucrats) who are somewhat scared of change.  Or if not frightened of it, at least (in Baev’s words) “indifferent”.  Second by Yurgens, et al (see page on Institute for Contemporary Development) who perhaps expect too much, and would jump ship when Medvedev did not meet their expectations.

Some interesting news on Slava Surkov:

“The Institute of Contemporary Development (INSOR) has tried to position itself as the key think-tank for Medvedev’s strategy, but their economic recommendations are combined with a plea to sack Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the presidential administration, who is in charge of PR (Ekho Moskvy, October 2).”

Baev also implies that Surkov is tied to (and supports) Dzhakhan Pollyeva (something that does not surprise me in light of their biographies):

“Medvedev, however, remains reluctant to relax control over the crucial media instrument –the three national television channels– and keeps Surkov close, not daring even to replace the top speechwriter (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 30).”

Finally, Baev brings up Anatoly Chubais, and the accusations he is facing over the incident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station.  He concludes:

Many “modernizers” have become guilty by association, which means that Medvedev is left to drag his failing presidency to the conclusion that he was right about the inability of the system to cope with the crisis but wrong about its capacity for reforming itself.

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