Lilia Shevtsova, senior associate at the Carnegie Moscow Center and chair of the Davos Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Russia, writing in the Moscow Times, says that Dima Medvedev has been put in place by the Putin regime as the sucker standard bearer for reform; he’ll then be submarined, reform condemned as a failure, and replaced by Putin as dictator for life.
History has seen many cases of the ruling elite leading society into a dead end while convincing the people all of the time that the road is leading toward a bright future. But it is a truly unique situation when a country’s leaders admit that they are at a dead end and then search for a way to stay there. This is precisely what the Kremlin is doing with President Dmitry Medvedev’s modernization program. Russia is trying to build a 21st-century society while preserving a system of personified power rooted in the 16th century. Even those who believe Medvedev’s best reformist intentions can’t avoid the question: How can the Kremlin pursue modernization if power remains in the hands of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the man responsible for so much of the country’s anti-modernization?