Category Archives: Russia

Got it all wrong ?


On this very blog only a couple of days ago I argued that Medvedev's announcement to appoint Vladimir Putin as Head of Government was, among other reasons, an electoral ploy. A few minutes ago, however, Putin announced at the Edinaya Rossiya congress in Moscow to accept the government office. My view had been shared by many Russian affairs analysts. We got it wrong.

If you've been wrong, you should better refrain from trying to explain why you are not to be blamed for your mistake. So I'll remain … Continue Reading ››

Medvedev and Putin: an odd couple


Annointed President D. Medvedev an hour ago announced that he pleads for Vladimir Putin to accept the office of Head of Government in case he'll get elected President in March (it was not Putin who stated the he will actually accept such an offer). However, I consider it highly unlikely that this scenario will actually unfold. What then is the aim of Medvedev’s announcement?

The first reason is to send a signal to the siloviki and chekisty camp defeated by Putin’s decision to support Medvedev’s candidacy. … Continue Reading ››

… double standards …


'EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner chided Tbilisi for a "somewhat overdone" reaction to the protests, which included the muzzling of an opposition television station, but welcomed subsequent steps to bolster democracy.' (Source: reuters, December 6th, 2007)  

Indeed: a very harsh reaction by the EU to a government's use of truncheons, batons, tear gas and rubber bullets against a peaceful demonstration.

Furthermore, Ferrero-Waldner praised President Saakashvili for lifting the state of emergency. Shouldn't he have not imposed it in the first … Continue Reading ››

_ winner’s and loser’s defeat _


Das Ergebnis war in den Führungsstäben des Präsidialamtes bereits befürchtet worden – der regimetreuen Bewegung ‚Geeintes Russland’ werde es nicht gelingen, trotz schmutziger Tricks einen eindrücklichen Sieg an den Wahlurnen zu erreichen. Die gleichgeschalteten ‚Einheitsrussen’ sind bei der Bevölkerung wenig beliebt; sie gelten als farblose, graue Bürokratenriege, ohne klare Ziele und Konzepte. Die Entscheidung Vladimir Putins im Oktober, deren Kandidatenliste bei den Staatsdumawahlen anzuführen, war denn auch bereits eine Reaktion auf relativ schwache Umfragewerte der Partei im Frühherbst gewesen.

Letztlich hat aber auch das Charisma Putins … Continue Reading ››

… a race too close to call …

duma_elections_12_07.jpgThis weblog provided you with exit poll results of the Russian State Duma elections and projected results based on tallied votes throughout the evening as soon as reliable data became available. The evening was most exciting, a race long too close to call and - most of all - delivering an unexpected winner. An election analysis will be posted here on December 4th, 2007.

splinter-series: creative constitutionalism

idee.GIFOn more than one occasion Putin has ruled out changing Russia's Constitution allowing him to stay President for a third term. Does Putin leave the stage? Now he is telling us, he might well accept the position as Head of Government. But what if he does not mean it:

In December 2007 he will be elected to the State Duma, in full accordance with electoral law. Everybody expects him to decline his seat and remain President. However: He might as well accept the seat and resign as President of Russia. … Continue Reading ››

splinter-series: battles are on…


The 'splinter-series' provides brief remarks on ongoing events, whereas blog entries are in-depth analyses:

The Russian Constitution has been violated: The Constitution demands an anointed Head of Government to present the line-up of his ministerial team no later than 7 days after his approval by the State Duma. Zubkov has failed to deliver. This is significant not for ignoring a constitutional provision but indicative of serious infights between the two camps within the presidential team on who controls which ministry.

it is surprising how long it takes … Continue Reading ››

Decision Postponed


It was utterly clear that Vladimir Putin was not to seek a third term almost two years ago. Sources close to him already then stated that he actually was ‘tired’ with this job and was looking for some other office with somewhat more behind the scenes authority and influence. It is argued by these sources that he might return back to the Kremlin at a later stage but that this was not yet decided.

Putin more than once made it clear that he is firmly commited to resign … Continue Reading ››