Who Is Stronger – Putin or Medvedev?

Who Is Stronger – Putin or Medvedev?
ndrey Karelin 09.05.2008

Regular congress of "Edinaya Russia" which for several days became the basic food for comments of journalists and political scientists took place in the middle of April. Sure: at once two presidents - leaving and "coming" made public speeches. The first of them not simply made public speech but also agreed to head "party in power" though not being among its members.

Last circumstance became an occasion for numerous gossips and jokes of politicians and experts: really extremely illogical to be the leader of a party, not being its member. Though the reasons of such not ordinary step are quite clear: "the national leader" doesn't want to restrict himself by party discipline; he sees himself above the party but not in its structure. Besides to connect himself only with one of the parties, let even dominating one in political space, doesn't' somehow suit to the leader who is though not the president but still is the one for "all the Russians".

By the way, using this surprising innovation, Putin actually could head all without exception loyal Russian political parties: in fact the law forbids to be the member of more than one party but it is not forbidden to be the leader of several parties having no membership card of any of them. So, one could even get surprised, why the leaving president one and a half a week after did not become the head also of "Fair Russia". However, there's nothing surprising here: Putin - is extremely pragmatic person and, apparently, he has agreed to head "party in power" after long persuasion on the part of functionaries of the last and only under pressure of serious players from an imperious top (neither Gryzlov, nor others status member of "Edinaya Russia", certainly, have not relation!). V.V.P doesn't need it - the majority of observers in no way want to understand till now.

As soon as "national leader" agreed to become the chief of "R", analytics started to seek the reasons of such step. The most widespread was the version that future prime-minister tried to stand by on a case of cooling of relations with the new president, fraught with serious conflict. Say, if dvedev will try to send after some time Putin's government in resignation,  the last leaning on qualified majority of members of "Edinaya Russia" the Duma, can threaten the head of the state with impeachment. However this version does not stand any criticism.

First of all, to provide support of the lower chamber of parliament, it is not so necessary to become the chairman of "party in power" prevailing there - its' simply enough to have in it unconditional authority. On the other hand, the status of the leader of this party does not guarantee at all to prime-minister support on the part of deputies: "Edinaya Russia", as well as every political or even quasi-political structure is not an army and not vertically - integrated company and it's not possible to give command to its members to vote automatically for "commander-in-chief", especially in situation of "war of leaders". So, Putin's presence in the head of "dinaya Russia" is not either necessary, or sufficient condition of similar "protection against the fool".

Much more essential is that circumstance that, according to the working constitution, resignation of the government under the initiative of the president - is one-stage act, three weeks is enough to the subsequent triple rejection by the State Duma of the offered new nominees on a post of prime-minister, then the head of the state receives full carte blanche dismissing chamber and appointing the government at own discretion. At that though from the moment of bringing an action in the address of the president necessary for his dismissal from a post, the Duma receives immunity from dissolution, it's clear that on practice it won't have time to do anything. Three weeks will not be enough for the parliamentary commission even to prepare qualified charge which demands serious bases (presence in actions of the president of state treason or other grave crime). Besides the Duma majority of "party in power" for certain will at once cease to be "qualified": the majority of "R" is not Putin's ardent fans but simple pragmatists having own interests and trying "to wait for the cap to jump".

Anyhow, it's clear that possibility to carry on control over real material resources by the main players will play the main role in mutual relations inside the management of the Russian Federation. Impeachments and other fine gestures - are good things but they suit only to be garnish to something more essential.

For this reason one shouldn't expect any sharp movements from dvedev also. Some journalists giving reports on the congress of "Edinaya Russia" pictured as Putin seven or eight times received standing ovations, while applauses to dvedev were weaker, besides nobody raised from places. Exalted reporters found it to be "humiliation" for the elected president. Assumptions appeared that dvedev will search a way "to revenge" Putin and separate radical analytics even assumed that the new chapter of the Russian Federation "will cheat" his forerunner having offered the State Duma to ratify somebody else to the post of prime-minister.

Such forecasts can cause only a smile. Putin and dvedev - members of one team closely connected to "Gazprom" and they have no bases to quarrel seriously in the near future. At the beginning they will operate quite coordinated, solving together general problems. Thus Putin in the greater degree will be concentrated on sphere of national economy (that he, being not the politician but manager, wanted to do already long time ago!), while the newly elected president will take in his hands political functions.

It's different thing that dvedev, apparently, will start to change gradually configuration of political space of Russia. Most likely, the next administrative reform is also inevitable. Probably, certain (in due course serious enough) personnel rearrangements at the highest levels will be demanded. Among other things it will be connected to necessity of synchronization of positions of a new management of Russia as a part of global system of capitalism with changes occurring in the largest imperialistic countries. First of all, it's a question of presidential elections in the USA which will pass at the end of the current year: if Bush is a personal friend of the leaving president of the Russian Federation, neither cCain, nor bama would obviously "pull together" with Putin, while dvedev can "be tuned" under them if he would carry out certain political and personnel changes in the country.

In this business Putin can't interfere with new president - even if he has such a desire, that is also hardly possible. Medvedev has already shown his force during presidential elections. We shall remind: before March, 2nd there was a version in expert community that dvedev "will be given" such quantity of voices so that he could confidently win the first round but at the same time would confidently lag behind Putin's result of 2004. Only the few analytics (your obedient servant among them) tried to deny these short-sighted forecasts. The validity confirmed that we were right: dvedev hardly failed to catch up Putin on percents, thus by absolute poll he bypassed Putin almost on three million, having broken "magic" barrier in 50 million voices and becoming absolute champion of all elections in the postSoviet history.


Delegitimization of Putin in a role of unique "national leader" was a result. Today dvedev applies for position of the leader already in not smaller degree, than his predecessor and he will try to strengthen his position even more. For this reason he refused to join "Edinaya Russia": in fact nobody would suggest him to head it (two equal status leaders for one "party in power" is too much!), while politically it doesn't suit him "to find himself under Putin". Besides, it's much more favourable to the new head of the state to occupy traditional pose of "the president of all the Russians".

What is then the reason Putin headed "Edinaya Russia"? Most likely, he was convinced to do it using some serious reasons. So to say, he was made "an offer which it is impossible to refuse". In fact, as a matter of fact, it is not necessary to Putin as we have shown. While it's necessary to - the members of "Edinaya Russia". More precisely, not even to them but those rather influential real players who are behind them. Charismatic figure as a leader of "R", apparently, is called to protect this pseudo-party lunker from getting weaker because of both external attacks and possible internal split. Most likely, those forces of the Russian elite which see members of "Edinaya Russia" as the basic political instrument and want to oppose their position to "the main party of the country" to attempts of "repluralization" of the Russian political system which, undoubtedly, will be undertaken by a part of imperious top at dvedev are interested in it. So, "struggle continues"... Silently.

What tendencies will prevail is rather early to say. Let's live and see. One thing is clear: economic crisis is not far off, political one will follow it. Then all these secret top games of leaders of the Russian capital will lose their value. Working classes and, accordingly, left forces will appear on a proscenium.
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