Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's declaration of his possible participation in presidential elections is not sensational; it simply reflects the ambitions he has within the 'correct' relationship with President Vladimir Putin, political experts believe.
"He has made such statements before," said Igor Yurgens, Institute of Contemporary Development (INSOR) head. "Presumably, they correspond to the current level of his civil service experience, hierarchy and understanding of the situation. That would be a no-nonsense fight. We can see how families, clans and influence groups have divided. Medvedev will have to regain a modern image for earning support. The older comrade has been outshining him lately, using the obvious tools the president has."
He also thinks that Putin-Medvedev relations continue to develop within the so-called tandem. "Obviously, this structure is supported by the majority of residents. It would be counterproductive and wrong to oppose the majority's will. In this context, a certain correct relationship of the duo would be grounded," he said.
However, the prime minister will have to present his position more clearly in order to substantiate his presidential ambitions. "He will have to find ways of self-identification and speak about modernity, modernization of the country and openness to the world," Yurgens said. "Modernization and progress are in demand by the part of the population Medvedev will have to rely on. Hence, this orientation seems to be inevitable."
By declaring his presidential ambitions, Medvedev did not disclose a secret but confirmed that he was dreaming of a moment when he would be able to return to the Kremlin calmly and without a struggle, political expert Gleb Pavlosky argues.
"Medvedev disclosed a Punchinello's secret; he simply said out loud what everyone already saw," he said. "The dreams of Dmitry Anatolyevich are clear to anyone from his conduct in the past six months. Many steps of Medvedev cannot be explained other than a hope to remain the number one candidate for presidency in 2018. I believe that many odd moves of Medvedev and his wonderful conformism with the legislative measures, which are obviously not taken by him but destroy the scanty remnants of his legal reforms, have only one explanation. He sacrifices everything to the ghostly hope for waiting, not fighting, for presidency the same as Putin waited for his turn over the previous four years."
At the same time, the relevance of presidential ambitions of Medvedev is a big question. "There is a colossal gap in the level and status of the president and the premier," Pavlovsky said. "This gap is even being emphasized. If I were Mr. Medvedev, I would have wondered if his first place in the line for presidency was secure. There is a constant campaign of the Kremlin and politicians close to the Kremlin, who enjoy emphasizing that the premier has no particular status."
In addition, the tandem is a rather interesting model, Pavlovsky added. "The tandem is sort of a 'black office' where Putin receives various people. It is unclear which of these people are closer to or farther from the president. There is Medvedev. There are also Bastrykin and certain influential people unrelated to the political class. I think that the tandem's ability to blur the notion of the principled course makes it a lasting form, which will remain in existence till the end. Even if Medvedev quits politics, I am sure there will be a new member of the tandem," he said.
Medvedev said earlier he did not rule out his participation in the presidential election campaign.
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