- In-Country Power
- International Power
- Military Strength
- Special Skill: Putin Puppet?
- Official Title: Prime Minister
- Government: Established democracy...with authoritarianism tendencies
- Years Left in Office: To 2012; re-election possible
- Political Classification: Center-right
- Education: MS, PhD in Private Law
- Age: 53 (born September 13, 1965)
Dmitry Medvedev Facts and Information
- Medvedev is President of Russia, continuing a lineage of strong leadership from his predecessor Vladimir Putin
- Medvedev is working hard to reorient Russia towards a post-industrial, technology-focused economy
- Medvedev also wants to limit corruption, limit state ownership of industries/resources, and continue to crush terrorism
- Medvedev maintains a strong handed approach in foreign policy, but has also warmed ties with the US and increased Russian influence in Eastern Europe/Central Asia
My main man Medvedev! Pickin’ up where Putin left off in the reinstatement of resurging Russian power. In fact, this dynamic duo of Medvedev and Putin is a prime minister and president who are the twin towers of powers in Russia! Who is the debonair bad ass in the immaculate blue suits that make him look like a Russian version of James Bond?
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev took over the reigns of the top slot of the Russian government from wildly popular Vladimir Putin, who has ‘stepped down’ to the Prime Minister position. As the Putin-appointed heir, Medvedev took over at the Kremlin on 7 May 2008 after winning the presidential election by a huge majority of the popular vote. Because of the tight relationship between the two men, and the previous anonymity of Dmitry, many analyst and political pundits assumed that he was/is a mere puppet of the prodigious and prolific Putin.
Indeed, both men are from the same political party, share the same political outlook, and both have an austere and icy look of death that seemingly can freeze enemies of the state and most breeds of wildlife in their tracks. And, indeed, Medvedev entering the presidency made for a seamlessly smooth transition, as he has perpetuated many of the same policies and leadership styles as his predecessor. But pundits should never mistake the stoic, reserved Russian nature that Dmitry exhibits as being due to him being a lapdog of Putin: as everyday passes Dmitry is forging and implementing his own unique vision for continuing the resurgence of Russia back onto the world stage. So who is this dude?
Born in 1965 in St. Petersburg (same home town as Putin) to two college professor parents, young Dmitry excelled in school, lifting weights, and rocking out to bootlegged Zeppelin, Floyd, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple (his favorite bands). Sweet! This dude might as well been American! Oh, but this all happened during the Cold War, so nyet. He also fell in love with a smoking hot sweetheart named Svetlana who would later become his wife, still is to this day. Family values, baby! Russian-style! He then completed law degrees from Leningrad University (same as Putin) and actually ended up working with Putin in several different projects/businesses.
Ah, this Putin/Medvedev tie is starting to make sense now! In 1990, he and Putin were in the Leningrad Municipal Soviet of People’s Deputies, whatever the hell that is. He also worked on the mayoral campaign of Anatoly Sobchak, a former professor of his at the university. From 1991 to 1996, Medvedev was a legal expert in the St. Petersburg Mayor’s Office, and the legal affairs director of a timber company, 1993-1999, and a Board of Directors member for the paper mill too. So he’s got mad skills in wood and law.
But the real hook up occurred in 1999 when Dmitry ran the presidential election campaign headquarters for Putin in St. Petersburg, and after the Putin victory in 2000, was appointed the chief director of Gazprom: Russia’s biggest corporation and the world’s biggest natural gas harvester. Hell yeah! Now the brother got some big time, high dolla’, high roller clout! In 2003, he became Putin’s Chief of Staff, and then in 2005 the Deputy Prime Minister. Cool headed, legally versed, business savvy, political player, and loyal confidant of Putin for years…so of course he was a strong Putin ally and prime candidate for President! A puppet? Not hardly!
And why break up a winning team? As President, Medvedev appointed Putin to be his Prime Minister. This has interesting implications, as Putin made provisions to greatly increase the direct power of the PM before he stepped into the position. And dig this noise: the constitution says Putin could become the president again in the future. Hmm…there is already debate about if the next election may see Putin and Medvedev square off against each other! In either case, it looks as if these two titans will be leading Russia in one respect or another for the foreseeable future.
But let’s end this rant focusing on what makes Medvedev so freakin’ awesome in his own right. Medvedev stated that one of his central missions would be to “protect civil and economic freedoms…and overcome legal nihilism.” He strongly supports private property, low taxes, freeing up business from regulations, personal freedoms, and anti-corruption. He wants to continue to push Russia to lean back towards free-market capitalist principles, and stresses that corruption and mafia are really holding the society back.
On top of that, in a totally surprise move, Dmitry basically blasted the shit out of Russia in a televised ‘State of the Union’-like address to the country in 2010. He attacked the country’s economic backwardness, its “primitive” and “humiliating” dependence on raw materials exports (read: oil, gas and timber) and its “chronic” and ubiquitous corruption. In his mind, without a significant economic/social change in Russia, they risk “becoming increasingly obsolete.” Damn! Even Putin didn?t lay the smack-down on his own country!
But Medvedev has solutions too: he painted his vision for the country’s future, saying that “modernization” was the key to its “very survival.” “Instead of the primitive raw material economy, we will create a smart economy generating unique knowledge, new useful things and technologies. Instead of the archaic society, in which the leaders think and make decisions for everyone, we will become a country of intelligent, free and responsible people,” he said.
And he is putting his money where his mouth is: Medvedev has initiatives for the facilitation of Internet broadband and 4G communications, a new cluster of orbital satellites, space technologies, new-generation nuclear reactors and sophisticated medicine. He himself is becoming a technology junkie: he has a videoblog at the presidential website kremlin.ru; he encourages federal/state employees and regular Russians to discuss the country’s most acute issues and propose their ideas for improvements via the internet. Got an issue? Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org . Damn! Getting connected!
2012 UPDATE!!: The US announced in a NATO meeting on May 20th 2012 that “oh by the way we didn’t give up on the missile shield, we had a successful test and now we’re going to start putting it in place in Eastern European countries.” Just a few days after the missile defense shield announcement Russia tested an anti-missile defense shield missile (say that 5 times fast). Maybe some more Cold War fun is brewing, we will see. Also keep an eye on the Georgian conflict as the 2014 Olympics approach. Sochi happens to be 5 miles from the Abkhazian border so expect Russia to clamp down on that area as the games near.
And he just started twittering too! In June 2010 during a week-long tour of American businesses in Silicon Valley and across the US, Medvedev got his tweet on, while meeting with the founders of Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google, et al. Wow! Why would he do all that? Dmitry is trying to lure their business savvy to Russia where he has plans of starting a Silicon-Valley-esque technology center outside of Moscow! Game on! The man has got a plan! He even partied with Arnold Schwarzenegger! And I believe Medvedev when he sez: “I’ll be back.”
And he’s got backbone a-plenty too. Medvedev has vowed to rebuild, modernize and re-strengthen Russia’s military, which is long overdue. In terms of foreign affairs, he successfully stared down the US and the world over the Russian invasion of Georgia (which was carried out by Putin) by recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent sovereign states…which infuriated ‘the West’. He also continuing Putin’s policy of hammering down the US over that proposed missile defense shield in Eastern Europe…which the US has now given up on.
In fact, dealing with ‘the West’ from a position of strength has lead to warming US/Russian ties and a resurgence of Russian influence in Europe and the world…especially in Ukraine where they just elected a pro-Russia president who cemented Russia?s military presence in the Crimean peninsula under the watchful eye of Dmitry. Of course, he continues to cultivate strong economic and political ties with China and the SCO, but increasingly Dmitry is all about opening Russia to investment and business and political ties to the entire world. He also came up with his own principles of Russia’s new foreign policy. The Medvedev 5 principles, summed up:
1. International law is the high law.
2. The world is multi-polar, deal with it.
3. Russia isn’t going to start no shit with anybody.
4. Russia will protect its citizens on the globe.
5. Russia will be cool if you be cool.
On terrorism, Dmitry may be even more hard core than Putin: after a Chechan terrorist attack on the Moscow subway in March 2010, Medvedev held a press conference where he looked so pissed off that he could choke a bear to death and then vowed “I have no doubt that we will find and destroy them all.” Note: he didn’t say find and jail them, or find and try them in a court of law: He wants them dead! So in summary, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia is one cool customer that is certainly an ally of the ever-popular and strong armed Putin, but bringing a new attitude and new outlook to Russia that is much needed. Maintaining Putin’s strong foreign policy directives have made Russia a respectable player again on the world stage. More importantly, Medvedev realizes that Russia cannot continue its pathetic reliance on natural resource extraction to prop up the economy, and cannot continue to allow corruption and the mafia to by defining characteristics of the country. Pushing hard for technology, innovation, and restructuring for the 21st century, he plans on making Russia the ultimate middle-man player between Euorpe/US and China. Win/win for Russia either way! Putin may have got Russia’s mojo back, but now Medvedev is making it grow into the future! Vodka shots all around for the dynamic Russian duo! 2012 UPDATE: On May 7, 2012 Medvedev returned the presidency to Putin as everyone expected and while this certainly diminishes his personal power he is still a big player in the Kremlin as Prime Minister. Even though he was tweeting pictures of his cat while Putin was in a meeting with EU leaders Medvedev has actually taken Putin’s place representing Russia in several key international events, specifically the G-8 summit in May of 2012 and the London Olympics. Medvedev attending the G-8 summit gives a hint at Russia’s less than top secret new international policy (the one where they buddy up with China and the rest of Asia as well as participate more in the G-20). As Putin disses the west left and right Medvedev could become the one of the last people in the Kremlin with an open mind towards strengthening ties with the west. Another point of interest is the recent changes in his domestic policy. When Putin returned to office protests began to spring up citing rigged elections etc. Amidst this Medvedev along with the United Russia Party has been pushing for increased fines for civil disobedience. The current fines are a laughable 15$ USD. Syri-oustly!? One of the hot topic issues in the news lately has been Syria. Team West is calling for a military intervention in the state to stop President Bashar Assad from killing his own citizens. Russia and China are of course against this calling it an internal conflict and will block any UN attempt to do anything there. Medvedev has said that it should only be the Syrian people who decide what Syria’s future should be. You can look at this as just another example of Russia and China staunchly supporting the idea of sovereignty because they don’t want anyone even thinking about intervening within their borders. What you can expect for the future is for Medvedev to be strengthening ties in the east specifically with China as well as places like Kazakhstan. This doesn’t mean he has turned anti west now but his attention is definitely elsewhere (LOL CATZ… really, google “Medvedev’s lost cat”). However, with Putin at the steering wheel don’t expect his views to be much different from the big man’s. At home you can expect to see Medvedev as focusing on modernizing Russia by pushing for advances in technology and infrastructure.
Plaidcasts Involving this Leader
- Russia Tilts East by Double-Dissing the West! May 15, 2012
- Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul! Mar 27, 2012
- Big Chill Sets in on Putin’s Russia Feb 11, 2012
- World Leaders Shake-Down in 2012 Jan 2, 2012
- In Other News…Putin Power Plummeting! Dec 13, 2011
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