Former Russian president laments low quality of current Western leaders
The current generation of European politicians are vastly inferior to those who governed the continent a few decades ago, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
Modern “technocrats” don’t have the backbone needed to take bold decisions and stand up to the US, unlike the statesmen of old, he claimed.
“I don’t mean to offend anyone, but it’s obvious to everyone that Mario Draghi is no Silvio Berlusconi and Olaf Scholz is no Angela Merkel,” Medvedev wrote on social media, comparing the current and former leaders of Italy and Germany.
“The political class of people, who embodied powerful political movements and in some cases entire eras, was replaced with puny individuals who call themselves technocrats,” he said.
The Russian official, who now serves as deputy chair of the National Security Council, said he had witnessed the replacement of the old guard personally during his career. Previously, Western Europeans had the guts to take action and face the music, if they turned out to be wrong but while the modern generation may be largely competent at governing, they don’t have the personality to take personal responsibility, he said.
“They will hide, weasel out, cite instructions, the state of markets or even climate change, but won’t make decisions. Or when they do, they come disastrously late,” he said.
Medvedev said such politicians cannot command respect because of these personal qualities, as evidenced by the treatment they get from Ukrainian officials.
“Could the Ukrainian ambassador call Chancellor [Helmut] Kohl ‘liverwurst’? Would the current president of Ukraine wear a green T-shirt to a meeting with President [Jacques] Chirac? Of course not,” Medvedev said, referring to the former leaders of Germany and France.
The first incident he referred to was the name-calling of Chancellor Scholz by Kiev’s envoy in Berlin. Weeks later, Andrey Melnik said he “regretted” calling Scholz an “offended liverwurst.”
Medvedev’s second remark apparently referred to the way Volodymyr Zelensky was dressed when he hosted the leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Romania in Kiev earlier this month, who all wore business attire.
The Russian official blamed what he described as the “degradation” of European politicians on the increasing subversion of the policies of European nations to the interest of the US.
“[Former French president] Charles de Gaulle could object to any American president. Who among the Europeans now could do so without their hands trembling? They don’t think about the future. They are limited by their flaccid electoral goals,” Medvedev said.
He noted that he was making this criticism public even though it would have been considered a major faux pas in the past. He said such remarks were now deemed permissible “for obvious reasons” in the West and in Russia.
There was little hope for positive change in terms of the scope of politicians, Medvedev said. He added that President Vladimir Putin’s old joke that “since Mahatma Gandhi died, there is no one to talk to” has proven to be spot-on.