Thursday, January 24, 2008

Russian elections 2008

Vladimyr Putin, the most influential person in Russia today, on behalf of his party, United Russia (Edinaya Rossiya), has endorsed Dmitriy Medvedev as his successor to Presidency. Putin also reminded people that this is the time not to praise for past achievements, but outline what challenges are still ahead. For that job, he strongly supports Medvedev. (here)

Born on September 14, 1965, in St. Petersburg, Medvedev is a lawyer and a businessman, who has been very close with Putin since he became President. Given the popularity of Putin and his influence on the Russian public, the polls have shown that the vast majority of Russians (over 70%) are ready to vote for Medvedev just because of Putin's endorsement (here).

In his speech after the endorsement by Putin, Medvedev spoke about improving the infrastructure and the world leadership of Russia with the help of Putin. In fact, Putin would be a Prime-Minister, as the head of the Parliament, if Medvedev becomes the President. Basically, Medvedev would probably be the shadow of Putin who will continue influencing Russian politics in all spheres.

Is there a viable opposition to Putin and Medvedev? While there is opposition, since Putin and Medvedev follow the general spirit of policies that the Russian population has been in favor of, there is really no chance for the opponents to garner as much support or popularity.

You may ask, what is the main reason that Russians love Putin and disliked either Gorbachev or Yeltsin? Competence and repairing the fallen image of Russia. After all, Yeltsin was an alcoholic and deeply incompetent, while Gorbachev proved to be just as incompetent in economic policies.

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