Russian Politics, & Personalities

Special Request

with 2 comments

for a reaction to this whole Iran business.

This will probably sound a bit conspiracy theorist to some of you, but I believe that Russia, and Iran will not abandon each other.  We expect too much if we believe that we can force either side into backing down.  Therefore, this latest announcement from Sergei Lavrov came as no surprise.

While the Iran aspect is interesting, what this story really proves is that Medvedev has no real power or say regarding Russian foreign policy.  The person calling the shots here is still Putin.  This is the political reality of Russia today.  The tandemocracy is not a 50-50 split.  It is probably not even, as Yulia Latynina once said, 70-30.  It is closer to 80-20, and there is not a whole lot we can do to change that.

Which is why I find the Obama administration’s continued attempts to sideline Putin so fascinating.  On the one hand, it could be seen as a smart move, which could result in a boost of power for Medvedev, who hopefully will eventually sideline Putin for good.

But imagine this scenario for a moment: feeling confident because of Obama’s support, Medvedev decides to ditch Putin.  What do you imagine happens?  A super Clan War (way bigger than 06.06, or than the Cherkesov disaster) where the whole Government is split, and the possibility of a military coup looms.  This would tie in with Joe Biden’s idea (that did not come out of thin air, by the way… he read it somewhere) that we want a weak Russia, but I seriously question that claim.

The Obama administration’s policy regarding Putin begs the question, aren’t we just a little full of ourselves?  What makes us think that our approval will help Medvedev in any way?  There is nothing that suggests that is the case, and everything to suggest that this strategy will blow up in our (and Medvedev’s) face.  And that could potentially be a disaster for all of us.

P.S. For a Russian’s view on the Obama administration’s policy regarding Russia, and her government, read Paul Goble’s summary of Anton Orekh’s Ekho Moskvy article.


Written by Nina Jobe

October 14, 2009 at 2:56 PM

2 Responses

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  1. I still don’t think we can make our entire foreign policy revolve around what Putin might or might not do. That’s giving him exactly the power he wants and doesn’t deserve. At least the current administration is trying to do something instead of just feeding his delusions. I don’t think for one second that the Bush administration ever did anything that didn’t revolve around what they thought was best for /them/, and I don’t expect anything less or more of the current administration: that’s the reality of independent states.


    October 14, 2009 at 7:27 PM

  2. I agree. We should not let our policy revolve around one person. Our decision on Iran should not depend upon the Russian’s agreement. If we do decide on sanctions, I doubt the Russians will follow suit.
    My intention, and the intention of this blog is to analyse what is going on within Russian politics, and the power structures, and how that plays into other things that are going on both in Russia, and in foreign policy.
    I could be totally wrong on the administration’s strategy, but that is my view of what they are trying to do. I am just concerned that it could end up backfiring.
    Something that has upset me for quite some time is that neither administration has been good at is calling Putin out on human rights abuses etc.


    October 14, 2009 at 10:33 PM

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