INSOR Russia: Institute of Contemporary Development
Updated December 10, 2019

April 25, 2012

The Institute of Contemporary Development


The Wall Street Journal



«Now he's not even an equal partner [with Mr. Putin], not even close to equal,» Igor Yurgens, head of a think tank that advised Mr. Medvedev, told the Interfax news agency Tuesday. The concept of a «ruling tandem» that had been used to describe the relationship between the two leaders is «out of date,» Mr. Yurgens said.

On tuesday, Mr. Putin seemed to highlight his protégé's slipping status with what analysts said was a political poisoned chalice—offering him the chairmanship of the ruling United Russia party, which has seen its popularity drop in recent years and is now widely referred to as «the party of crooks and thieves.»

«It's like buying a car that's been in a serious accident. It will need a lot of time and effort to repair it,» said Boris Makarenko, a political analyst. (...)

As prime minister, Mr. Medvedev is expected to have even less authority, analysts said. «The Medvedev government will cautiously continue the same course,» said Mr. Yurgens, the Medvedev adviser. He added that initial indications are that Mr. Medvedev's previous pledges to shake up the cabinet when he leaves the Kremlin aren't likely to be fulfilled.

And while Mr. Medvedev Tuesday pledged to further reduce state control over the economy, officials say the government is considering a plan to create a giant new state company with broad powers to spur development in Siberia and the Far East.

Similarly, the broad political reforms that Mr. Medvedev proposed in December after antigovernment protests swept the capital have been watered down as they've moved through parliament in recent weeks, analysts and opposition leaders say. Legislators are expected to approve this week changes that would give the Kremlin the ability to block candidates it didn't want from newly reinstituted direct elections for regional governors, analysts said. «It will be imitation competition,» said Mr. Makarenko.