After today's presidential inauguration, Dmitry Medvedev will officially become Russia's head of state. KP spoke with renowned political scientists to get their opinions about what President Medvedev's steps will be in his first 100 days in office.
Gleg Pavlovskiy, General Director of the Effective Policy Fund: "The apparatus will try to break down the new guy."
I think the most important thing that Medvedev will do in his first three months as president is toughen up. He'll attempt to implement the diverse and strategically significant program he's announced, but the apparatus and civil servants will try to confuse the president and inundate him with minor problems. This won't be intentional. That's just the way they're built.
The apparatus feared Putin slightly despite the fact that he didn't get too thick-skinned. But they'll try to break down the new guy. Medvedev is well aware of this. His recent statements that innovation's chief adversary is our own administrative system weren't by any means accidental. Also, Medvedev's first 100 days in office will pass during the summer. Russians are inclined to do anything but work in these months. This initial period will be difficult and important for Medvedev and pass under the motto: "Who commands who?" This will be a reconnaissance in force for Medvedev as he takes over the presidential authority. He'll likely draw unpleasant conclusions about the power vertical that he once chaired. Thus, in early fall he'll probably begin to act more toughly.
Medvedev and Putin also need to organize their power-sharing system as president and government. Such a system hasn't existed in Russia to date. But I think they'll sort the situation quickly and already launch massive reforms to the power structure in early fall.
Dmitry Orlov, General Director of the Political and Economic Communications Agency: "Medvedev will have to combat inflation."
Medvedev is a calm and rational politician. That's why I don't think we should expect any sharp decisions from him in his first 100 days in office. However, this doesn't mean his policy will be unclear or inconsequential. First and foremost, I think Medvedev will address the economic issues that are facing Russia. These are the inflation rate and the liquidation crisis in the banking sector. These are critical problems that we must react to quickly. I also don't exclude an increase in party activity due to Medvedev's recent statements that political parties must be competitive. This most importantly goes for right wing parties, but with United Russia naturally maintaining its dominant position.
Leonic Polyakov, Professor and Deputy Head of Political Science at the Higher School of Economics: "Don't expect a power conflict."
I think Medvedev may finally get rid of our idiotic tradition that all our heads of state have to start their terms by declaring the previous government to be a complete and utter mistake, and rebuking everything said or done by its predecessor. Vladimir Putin deviated from this line of thinking. He treated Yeltsin's heritage respectfully despite the myriad problems that he had to overcome.
Of course, Medvedev wants to be perceived as a self-sufficient leader. But I don't think the new president will waste 100 days on self-affirmation. He's a politician who's experienced and wise enough to juxtapose Putin. Fights among leaders arise when they don't have anything to do. But Putin and Medvedev developed a program of colossal difficulty together — the 2020 strategy. They've got their hands full. On this note, it's worth mentioning the first Romanovs, Mikhail and Filaret, who jointly ruled the Russian Empire. They were the origin of the royal "We," such as: "We command." Putin and Medvedev certainly aren't father and son, but my point is that two leaders are capable of working well together. Moreover, the Russian Constitution clearly defines the authority of the president and prime minister.
Boris, Kagarlitskiy, Director of the Institute for Globalization Studies: "The reform projects will start coming toward the end of the summer."
I don't think Medvedev will make any rash moves in his first months as president. The country isn't expecting it. We were promised a continuation of Putin's political course during the elections. Thus, the authorities, including the new president, will calmly execute their duties. But the apparatus is feeling the heat. It's not easy to put someone in the White House from Old Square. All the relations in the apparatus need to be re-organized. And this may take a long while. But the authorities have time. Vacations are approaching.
We should expect a number of new projects this fall. Specialists are working on them as we speak. The reform projects will start getting sent to other offices toward the end of the summer. That's when we should expect some motion.
Mikhail Leontev, Chief Editor of "Profile" Magazine: "No hasty decisions."
The biggest intrigue of Medvedev's first 100 days in office is the formation of the Cabinet of Ministers and Administration on Old Square. I don't think we're in for any hasty decisions. Medvedev's entire presidential campaign hinged on predictability and continuing Putin's political course. Medvedev is a politician who is independent enough to prove himself during his first months as president. Why do people think all the power has to rest on the shoulders on one person? This is only possible in a dictatorship. I don't think that's the political construction we're dealing with. Our current power structure is strong from a practical point of view. We have an independent, politically capable executive power and head of state.
Place of Residence № 1
A new residence hasn't been built for President Medvedev
The head of state will live at the state cottage on the bank of the Moscow River and hold official events at the Kremlin and the 19th-Century Mein Dorf Castle in Moscow's suburbs
Immediately after his inauguration, Dmitry Medvedev will move from the Kremlin's Fourteenth Building where he began working after the elections to the First Building where the presidential office is located. But Medvedev won't move house in the near future and it's still uncertain where he and his family will reside and welcome official guests.
Vladimir Putin is unlikely to leave his Novo-Ogarevo residence after Medvedev's inauguration. He has lived there with his family for 8 years and hosted many official guests at the property. Medvedev has lived at the Moscow River residence with his wife and son for 5 years as the head of the Presidential Administration. The Novo-Ogarevo property is legendary. Built in 1947, it is distinct from other state residences in the Rublevka area because it is made of wood. Khrushev and Andropov both lived there.
Medvedev will likely use the 19th-Century Mein Dorf Castle in Moscow's suburbs to host official meetings. The castle is officially used by the Presidential Administration. Recently, Medvedev met Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda there. Contrary to rumor, Medvedev won't maintain an official residence in Saint Petersburg. However, the Presidential Administration does intend on building a residential complex for higher state organs on Stone Island. Highly positioned politicians will be able to stay at the residency in addition to the president.
It's not clear what awaits the Bocharov Stream unofficial presidential residence near Sochi where Putin has vacationed and worked during the summers. The home should pass to Medvedev in principle. But in the past there have been incidents when prime ministers have vacationed at the property, such as Viktor Chernomyrdin. It's possible that Putin may continue to use the residence. Either way, KP has learned that Medvedev is likely to skip his vacation this year due to numerous meetings and trips. The new president plans to make a trip around Russia shortly after his inauguration and visit Kazakhstan and China in late May.
An Objective Look
Nikolay Zlobin, Director of the Russia and Eurasia Project at the World Security Institute (U.S.): "Medvedev must define Russia's relations with the U.S. and EU."
I think President Medvedev will have to deal with several priorities in foreign policy. In recent months, both the Kremlin and Russian press have characterized Medvedev as a pro-Western liberal. The West perceives this as a PR move. At the end of the day, everyone wants to know what direction Russia is going to take now. How will problems of international security be solved? Where does Medvedev stand on U.S. and EU relations? There are a whole range of issues that a leader of one of the top 10 economies in the world must address still in his presidential campaign. Maybe Medvedev will this during his first speeches.
Everyone's talking about Russia's economic development until 2020, and now we'd like to know about the state's vision for foreign policy. In 6 months, a new administration will come to power in the U.S. And without knowing what Russia wants, it will be very difficult for them to define a more or less adequate policy concerning the country.
There are concrete questions that Medvedev must address without hesitation; for example, Georgia. However, it's unlikely his policy will differ much from Putin's on this account.
Aleksandr Rar, German Political Scientist: "The EU is waiting for warming relations."
Anti-Western rhetoric hasn't yet been observed in Medvedev's speeches. The West perceives this as a step towards compromise. In higher political circles in Germany and France they're already saying that the new Russian president is the beginning of liberalization. Medvedev is a different personality than Putin, despite being a member of his team. If Putin was accustomed to using "hard power" in dialogues, Medvedev is expected to use "soft power" with his partners. Putin may have selected a younger politician from his team to make certain adjustments to his course of foreign policy. The West hopes Medvedev will start his term by doing so. It wouldn't be desirable for Russia to lose the EU as a partner.
How Putin will become prime minister
Today the Russian Cabinet of Ministers resigns for the eleventh time in its history
Today, Vladimir Putin automatically relinquishes his authority as present after Dmitry Medvedev's inauguration. However, it's clear that Putin will soon assume the position of prime minister. Many are interested in learning how the current government will resign and the new prime minister will be appointed.
Immediately after Medvedev's inauguration, Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov will sign a regulation resigning the authority of the current government. This will be the eleventh such resignation in the history of the new Russia, and the fifth time due to a presidential inauguration. But before Medvedev can accept the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers, he must temporarily approve an acting prime minister by decree. Putin will most likely be appointed as prime minister on May 7. Medvedev has stated on numerous occasions that he plans to submit Putin's candidacy to the State Duma. Medvedev will commission the retired ministers to execute their duties until the State Duma approves Putin's candidacy so that Russia isn't left without a government.
However, the old government won't work for long. Despite the holiday, State Duma deputies are intent on voting for a new prime minister on May 8. According to KP's information, the plenary is scheduled for 12:00. Apparently, no consultations will be held between the candidate for prime minister and State Duma fractions. All the deputies know Putin and his socio-economic development program until 2020. The most interesting event will follow Putin's appointment as prime minister — the formation of the Cabinet of Ministers. As for now, there are no clues as to who will retain his position among the former ministers.
As of today, numerous colleagues of the Presidential Administration will have resigned, including assistants of the former head of state. Further staffing changes to the Presidential Administration will depend on Medvedev.
Former Chief of Presidential Protocol Vladimir Shevchenko: "We used Aleksandr II's coronation ceremony as a point of reference."
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