Tandem is not dead – Putin

Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Aleksey Druzhinin)
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has rejected claims that Russia’s political tandem is ineffective and is leading the country down a road to stagnation, and says evolutionary changes are to take place in the country’s political system.

­"We do not think that it is all over, that it has exhausted itself, but we are in no mood to remain where we are," Putin said at a meeting with members of the Valdai discussion club on Friday, as cited by Itar-Tass.

His remark came as a response to a club members’ survey, which suggested that Russia’s current performance in political, economic and social spheres shows a “tendency toward stagnation.”

Putin said he had heard the criticism of the tandem and noted that “no management system is perfect." He pointed out that reform of Russia’s political system had been ongoing for several years and promised that they would continue.

"We do not believe that this is the final step in the development of our political system, and we are thinking about how to achieve a situation in which the people will feel a greater connection with the authorities, exert a greater impact on the authorities, and have a chance to count on feedback," Putin explained.

Justifying the preservation of the political tandem and his own his expected comeback as president next year, Putin cited his old friend Silvio Berlusconi’s 17-year term in the prime minister’s chair as an example of a “stability factor” for the country.

"I have a very warm personal relationship with Berlusconi,” Putin said. “I believe that he is one of the greatest European politicians."

Silvio Berlusconi is expected to resign on Saturday after a final vote on an austerity package in Italy’s lower house of the Parliament.

If he wins the presidential election, Putin is expected to adopt the modernization course set by incumbent President Dmitry Medvedev.

"As far as I understand, Putin is prepared to go further along the path of modernization,” said Alexander Rahr, director of the Bertold Beitz Center of the German Society for Foreign Policy.

“If I got the message right, he said Medvedev would be tasked with leading the government and Putin as president would approve of him leading his own team,” Rahr added.  “He wanted to say that the tandem is not dead, that Medvedev is not a beaten docket.”