Monday, March 10, 2008

Debriefing

It is unlikely that Medvedev is entirely Putin’s creature, or will remain so for long. Yes, Putin is not quite letting go, and there is a legal loophole that would allow him to run for President again in 2008, but even in a situation as unprecedented as the one we have now, it would be disingenuous to suppose that a leader of Russia will give up the power willingly. The top job is not one fit for a puppet, and Dmitri Medvedev is decidedly not a fool.

Full text at Baltlantis.

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posted by Flasher T at

10 Comments:

Blogger Giustino said...

Baltlantis is down. E-mail me the piece if you are bored. I am eager to read it.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Flasher T said...

It's back up now, it seems...

4:53 PM  
Blogger Giustino said...

Nice piece. I agree that Estonia needs to cut the 'reparations' talk out of the equation. But who can really do that?

Do you think the current elite -- Ansip, Laar -- are up to the challenge of sidelining the history debate? I mean a large swatch of Isamaa's thought leaders are historians!

Who is the man, or woman, for the job, in other words?

6:53 PM  
Blogger Flasher T said...

Ah hell, man... I don't know. Best idea I have so far is that we need a Ceaser, a Reagan figure - someone with such infallible patriotic credentials that they can negotiate with Russia without being branded a traitor.

THI could be that person, if he would just stop being so obviously offended by Russian propaganda.

I still like Laar for this - he definitely has the credentials, and I want to believe he has the greater political nous to understand that politics must sometimes serve practicality.

As for reparations, that's just counterproductive. As Henry Kissinger said to Golda Meir, that is an option which does not exist.

7:24 PM  
Blogger space_maze said...

Good reading. While I don't believe Medvedev was elected legitimately, it's certainly true that he would have won by legitimate means as well.

Which leads to the one thing about this election that really confused me: why all the crap with banning opposition candidates and highly fishy stuff all over the place, if he'd have won anyways?

I have some hopes, though, that Medvedev will be less bad than Putin. Firstly - he just doesn't seem nearly as evil. Shallow reasoning.

Secondly, he's a businessman. It's his job to make operations run. What Russia needs more than anything else, right now, is to have its economy fixed. So, IMO, Russia needs a competent businessman in charge more than it needs a KGB agent firing up brainless nationalism.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Flasher T said...

The easy answer is, he wanted to make Medvedev believe it could not be done without him.

Also, for what it's worth, Putin has built up a different type of Russian autocracy. Sort of why the Chileans appear to actually like Pinochet - he was an utter bastard, but he did pull the country up from the dumps. Estonia's Schengen blacklists aside, Russians are far more exposed to the West now, and if a real opposition was allowed to exist, it might grow powerful very quickly.

As for Medvedev being a businessman, there's reason to believe he will be less of a hardass, but don't forget the old saying: All power corrupts - and absolute power... is actually pretty cool. ;)

8:39 PM  
Blogger Giustino said...

THI could be that person, if he would just stop being so obviously offended by Russian propaganda.

He probably is the one. But I understand his random outbursts. He is the president of Estonia, yet all anyone ever wants to talk about with him is Russia.

It's never, "So how's your IT sector?" or "How about that Andrus Veerpalu?" or "Which one of Jaan Kross' books is your favorite?" It's always, "How about Putin, huh, does he scare you?" and "Why don't you take a fourth, Russian name, like 'Toomas Hendrik Gennadi Ilves' -- so you can be more representative of your Russian minority?"

If I was the president of country X and everyone kept asking me questions about country Y, I have a feeling I might also lose it now and then. And he hasn't used any profanity recently. He's a diplomat through and through.

12:26 AM  
Blogger So? said...

Good article.

5:00 AM  
Blogger Flasher T said...

If I was the president of country X and everyone kept asking me questions about country Y, I have a feeling I might also lose it now and then.

[grin] Now you know how Canadians feel.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Flasher: May the lice from a thousand beavers infest your beard!
}:[

2:45 PM  

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