Russian Prime Mminister Medvedev falls out of Putin's favor
MOSCOW — A campaign of insinuation and insult has targeted Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and in a country where all power flows from the top downward, his boss, President Vladimir Putin, has done nothing all winter to stop it.
Medvedev's failings get an airing in the press, and nasty, anonymous video documentaries accuse him of all sorts of treachery. Slights and humiliations are visited on him by the Kremlin. Bureaucrats ignore him. Putin, in public, takes little care to hide his disdain.
Medvedev responds by repeatedly trying to demonstrate his loyalty to Putin, which draws ridicule from politicians and pundits alike. As a consequence, the cabinet of ministers Medvedev chairs is barely able to function.
The Kremlin could halt the abuse any time it wants, said Lilia Shevtsova of the Moscow Carnegie Center. But Putin, she said, intends to send a clear message to the rest of his circle that Medvedev is irrevocably out of favor. And it is a symptom of one of Putin's strongest characteristics, she added: “He enjoys it when other people are being hurt.”
Gleb Pavlovsky, a once-trusted Kremlin insider who was fired in 2011, has a darker view: that Putin has convinced himself that Medvedev betrayed him, has conflated Medvedev with the political protesters who in fact oppose both men, and is lashing out in all directions in a fight against demons that only he can see.
Putin may feel that he has to crush Medvedev before he can discard him, said Kirill Rogov, an analyst at the Gaidar Institute, or else the prime minister might rise again to challenge him.
Putin's 60 percent approval rating would be high in any true democracy, Rogov said, but it is not sufficient in Russia's “electoral authoritarianism.” Putin's system depends on a mythology of overwhelming consensus.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Exit poll: Ex-regime official Essebsi is Tunisia’s new president
- Arrests made in Pakistan school massacre
- Australian woman denied mental health court hearing in slayings of 8 children
- Nigeria’s Islamic terrorist Boko Haram group poses threat to Cameroon
- Israel responds to rocket strike by rogue jihadists in Gaza Strip
- Pakistan fervent about anti-blasphemy law
- At U.N. climate talks, a crack in rich-poor barrier
- No movement yet on Afghan cabinet
- Taliban siege at Pakistani school ends with 141 dead
- Bad day for Israel: U.N. criticizes West Bank settlements; Hamas off EU terror list
- Canadian woman who helped ducks gets prison in fatal crash