Dmitri Medvedev, Prime Minister who resigned and the Liberals’ disappointed hope

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, in Moscow, January 15. DMITRY ASTAKHOV / AFP

Should we see a sanction in the appointment of Dmitry Medvedev to the vice-presidency of the Russian Security Council? Admittedly, this body is strategic, and the resigning Prime Minister will occupy a tailor-made position there, but this transfer still looks like a small political death for a man who held the highest office and who, a few years ago , carried the hopes of the Russian liberal camp.

Once again, Dmitry Medvedev complies with the wishes of his eternal boss, Vladimir Putin, by agreeing to play the liners, the role which seems to him devolved since their common beginnings in Saint Petersburg, in the 1990s. The model lawyer had was appointed deputy prime minister in 2005. Once only, in 2008, when he was elected president of the immense Russian Federation, he could dream of another destiny. He certainly owed his promotion to his mentor, prohibited by the Constitution from running for a third successive mandate, but he reached the supreme office.

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At the time, Dmitry Medvedev embodied a revival after eight years of Putin’s presidency. To the point of making dream the liberal fringe of the Russian opinion and the Western leaders. Didn’t the new president, rock music fan and new technology fan, promise to modernize the country and abolish corruption?

Image of soulless official

The disillusionment was cruel and he himself acknowledged his failure on this issue in 2011. Above all, Medvedev made no serious attempt to liberalize the economy or the political scene. He did not deviate from the Poutin line until 2011, when he left the West free in Libya, which remains the main task on his CV in the eyes of the Russians.

Despite this, the Liberal camp pushed him to try to keep power in 2012. Medvedev did nothing, too loyal or not daring enough. This loyalty to the chief enabled him to take the post of prime minister and to enjoy an unequaled longevity there. But its political weight has continued, during these eight years, to decrease, in favor of the clan of “siloviki”, men from the security apparatus.

Despite his discretion and his confinement to technical matters, Dmitri Medvdev had also become one of the least popular Russian officials, portraying an image of a soulless and cynical civil servant. The investigation by opponent Alexei Navalny into his immense property holdings had led in 2017 to a wave of protests of an unexpected scale.

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