Excellent piece today by Alexei Pankin on why Medvedev’s modernization may fail. Hi-lights:
Over the past few months, Medvedev is everywhere on television. But he almost always seems to be wearing a dour expression, which appears out of place with his boyish appearance….
What’s the fallout of having a president with a stiff, Brezhnev-like television image? On the same day Medvedev spoke at the journalism forum, Nezavisimaya Gazeta ran an article titled “Russians Unconvinced by Call for Modernization.” It reported the results of a survey showing that although everybody in Russia agrees with the need for modernization, only 5 percent of those questioned believed that the state was capable of driving this innovation. That degree of skepticism is clearly linked to the fact that the country lacks strong presidential leadership….
The risks are obvious. Russia cannot modernize unless television coverage of Medvedev is modernized. Otherwise, the people will never accept Medvedev as a real president. In the best-case scenario, he will maintain the image of a popular blogger.