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World mulls over 'President' Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev's presidential hopes and Vladimir Putin's possible role as Prime Minister has caught many countries by surprise. In Europe, leaders hope at times shaky relations will improve, while in the U.S. government officials refused to be drawn on R

In Western Europe, headlines like 'Putin appoints his prince' and 'Putin's appointed successor', suggest Russia's more like a monarchy then a democracy. The general opinion in the Western European media is that Russia's next president will have been hand-picked by Vladimir Putin, and not the people.
“Russia works in a very different way than our democracies work. Putin is somebody who rules in a very authoritarian way. He is very popular in Russia, and you have to leave the Russians decide themselves. And, after all, if he wasn't a Tsar he might not be as popular. So, you know, things can go both ways,” Pierre Rousselin, Le Figaro newspaper Deputy Editor-in-Chief, commented.

The British newspaper The Guardian writes: “The beauty of Russia's political system is that you do not need an election to know the name of the next president.”

Critics suggest Putin has chosen Dimitry Medvedev as the United Russia candidate because he's a loyal friend, who he can control.

Mr Medvedev's proposal that Vladimir Putin become Prime Minister bolsters this theory.

Analysts say his experience as chairman of Gazprom, his legal training and the fact that he's seen as having sprung from the post soviet generation are good signs for business.

Analysts point out that Mr Medvedev is not one of the 'Siloviki', Russia's elite group of security service agents, is also reassuring.

“Out of all the candidates Mr Medvedev was the most modern, the most open-minded and the most liberal,” Quentin Peel, the Financial Times International Affairs Editor, said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said that she would be happy to work with Dmitry Medvedev.

While the Western media doesn't portray Russia as very democratic, with Mr Medvedev as President slightly warmer relations with the rest of Europe could be fostered.

Bush in the dark

Recent developments in Russia have also gained attention in the U.S., although it was not the lead story in most newspapers.
President Bush claims he has no first-hand knowledge or information on Putin's intention after the election of March 2008.

Ian Bremmer, the president of Eurasia Group in New York, expects Medvedev’s Russia to stay as the market darling and a major powerhouse in security issues.

“I believe, under President Medvedev – if he becomes President – and under Prime Minister Putin, Russia will continue to be seen as a serious challenge for Washington and Brussels on national security issues. I don't see any particular conflict between two things, they can continue for a long time,” Bremmer said.