Interview with Sergey Medvedev

Sergey Medvedev, analyst from Moscow's Higher School of Economics, joined Russia today to speak about PM Fradkov’s resignation and the nomination of Viktor Zhukov as the new Chairman of the Government.

Russia Today: A question many people are now asking is could Victor Zubkov become Russia's next president?  What do you think?

Sergey Medvedev: Well, that would be a very nice ironic twist of history. A man born in 1941 at the height of the Great Patriotic War, rising through the party ranks, through the Soviet agriculture ranks, being a director of the kolhos or sovhoz [collective farm], rather than being a loyal party appartatchik [bureaucrat].  And then gaining promotion to the Leningrad region party committee before going through the turmoil of 1990’s while working under Putin and Saint Petersburg city administration. Then going to Moscow, as Putin became Prime Minister first and then President, and finally, rising to the rank of President of Russia. So, Zubkov is going through the full cycle of Soviet political life and Post-Soviet political life.  

RT: He is very much part of Putin’s inner circle, isn’t he?

S.M.: Yes, very much so. You know, we were talking about “the family” in Yeltsin’s time and we are talking about “the families” these days. Because you know his son-in-law is the Minister of Defence, Anatoly Serdukov.  But I think that despite his closeness to Putin, despite him being part of the family, part of the Saint Pertersburgers, because now we have Saint Petersburgers in the top echelon of Russian power. I don’t think it is likely that he will be President of Russia at the age of 66. He is an honourable statesman, an honourable party member, but I think he is more a caretaker and a loyal person.  

RT: Are you expecting any changes in the government under a new Prime Minister?

S.M.: I don’t believe so. There might be some minor changes, cosmetic changes. I believe that the key persons are in place, are in position.  It's possible that close to the elections, especially the Duma elections, some of the more criticised ministers could be victimized – like Health Minister Zurabov, possibly Trade Minister Gref, I don’t know.  His resignation has been rumoured so many times.  

RT: Whoever becomes next president, do you see any major changes in the way the economy is likely to go, the political course?  

S.M.: I don’t think so.  The way the politics in this country is built, is to preserve the stability of the system and the continuity of the system. Putin’s prime task in power has been the building of the system so that it lasts. And people who are now in power would like to keep it as long as possible. So, I think  Mr Zubkov will see to that.