‘Predictability of Russian politics good for the world’

The predictability of the Russian ruling system leading to Vladimir Putin running for 2012 presidency will most likely be welcomed by the world community, head of the State Duma Committee for International Relations, Konstantin Kosachev, told RT.

”I am not in a position to speak for the West, but I believe that predictability and transparency in what we are doing here, inside of the United Russia party, inside of the government, the Russian ruling authorities, is to be welcomed by anybody else in the world,” he said.

“I believe that the decision which is taken today by this party, by my party, is a kind of a response to a civil request which exists in the Russian society,” Kosachev added. “Both Mr. Medvedev and Mr. Putin are definitely very popular in Russia. They do enjoy real support with the majority of the Russian population.”

”To have this strong combination of those two leaders continuing to work together with each other, now in other capacities but still together, is good for Russia, is good for the Russian foreign policy and, I believe, is good for the world,” he concluded.

Fred Weir of Christian Science Monitor told RT that Putin re-occupying the President’s seat will not be the worst option for the West, where he is already known as a partner.

“People will become more certain that there is one system of power in Russia and it is there to stay. That is the message to the world, but it is not a bad message. Despite some of the trouble during the Putin era, Putin was a kind of solid, predictable partner. He is a known quantity,” said Weir.


According to John Laughland from the Institute for Democracy and Co-operation, the recent move by the tandem was long expected.

“Russian political class has been in the state of extreme tension for months waiting for the announcement to be made. So the applause we heard were enthusiastic, but also an enormous sigh of relief,” he said. “The political class has been concentrated exclusively on this issue for a long time. People in Moscow will be happy that at least the way is clear for parliamentary elections in December and then presidential elections next year.”

Laughland observed that the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev over the past several years has been a positive one.

“The tandem worked. It is an extraordinary phenomenon, I cannot think of any equivalent in modern politics. It is striking and it does work,” he said. “As for internal policy, Medvedev has made modernization theme of his presidency. By modernization he means modernization of the economy. It is essential for Russia to break away from excessive dependence from natural resources and to develop her economy in a multi-natural way. I believe it will be the focus of the future Putin’s presidency.”


­’Good news for foreign investors’

VTB President and Chairman, Andrey Kostin, believes that the announcement is good news for the international investment community in a very difficult time.

“It is very important that investors now can see the stability of political course, the stability of economic course,” he said. “I think investors would like to know who will be the next president. I think the announcement of this should remove any concerns they might have about the elections.”

“And I think that continuity of the economic course – Mr. Medvedev will be a Prime Minister – is also a quite exciting decision,” he added.

He added, though, that the markets are “really crazy” right now and ignore “many positive things,” which are happening in the world and particularly in Russia.

“We saw, last week, a very drastic fall of the Russian stock market without any good reason,” he said. “But I very much believe that in deep course the investors’ enthusiasm is back. And then of course it will matter very much how they will view Russia and prospects of Russia for the next six years.”


’Putin’s modernization scheme is not what West is waiting for’

­Adrian Pabst, University of Kent professor, told RT it has been clear for months that Dmitry Medvedev would not run for the Russian presidency. 

“I think since July Medvedev has given up fighting for the presidency and his mentor was going to return to return to his job in 2012,” he said.

Pabst agrees the home policy Vladimir Putin has tried to implement is a clear shift to what President Medvedev was trying to do in the past four years. On the other hand, Pabst added that he does not expect a major shift in foreign policy.

“There might be a slight change of tone. Putin in the past used some rather strong language, but over time his tone has changed. But no big shifts will be seen in the issues. On that there has been much more agreement between Putin and Medvedev,” he concluded.


­Professor Gerhard Mangott, from the Department of Political Science at the University of Innsbruck, shared his opinion on the differences between Medvedev’s and Putin’s approaches to the modernization of Russia.

“What is important is that both men have different idea, a different meaning to modernization,” he said. “For Mr. Putin the modernization means to modernize the economy and it has to be done with the state. What the West have waited for and what they thought Medvedev is tending for is modernization which encompasses all spheres of life, not just the economy.”

“Putin’s tendency for modernization is not what the West was waiting for and was hoping for,” he added. ”And probably this is also not the approach to modernization that actually works in a modern post-industrial society the Russia one is already.”


­However, columnist and political analyst Sergey Strokan believes the tandem is sending a political message to the nation as well as to the world that their duo is not outdated, that it is a viable construction. Still, Strokan expects journalists to revive their dispute of “Who is Mr. Putin?”

“Putin will have to reinvent himself,” Strokan told RT. “Obviously, with the global financial downturn and other hurdles, stability is just one of the basic ideas he will have to follow. The key words will be growth and development.”

This time, if Putin gets the office, he will have to concentrate on “soft power” and “improve his technique somehow to show that he is not going to just antagonize the minor, but still important groups of the society, but is able to work with them and incorporate them into the political mainstream,” concluded Strokan.