365 Days of Medvedev

Fraser Cameron of the E.U.-Russia Centre provides his appraisal of Dmitry Medvedev’s first year as President of the Russian Federation.

Another survey, by the E.U.-Russia Center, shows that most Russians consider the top three issues facing Russia to be the fight against corruption, the establishment of an independent judiciary and the need to diversify the economy. But a clear majority was pessimistic about whether Medvedev could achieve these goals.

When he moved into the Kremlin last May, Medvedev said that his most important task was the “further development of civil and economic freedoms.” As a lawyer, he talked of tackling the culture of “legal nihilism” and of the importance of stamping out corruption.

One year on, there are few results to show. Indeed, the show trial currently underway of the former Yukos boss, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is testimony to how little has changed. (…)

On the personal side, we still know relatively little aboutMedvedev. He seems happily married to his childhood sweetheart,Svetlana, with whom he has one son, Ilya. He is an open fan of DeepPurple, and he has recently started a blog on LiveJournal, one ofRussia’s most popularblogging sites, stating he was committed to more transparency ingovernment. This was a theme he also underlined in an interview toNovaya Gazeta, a newspaper critical of the Kremlin and Putin.

Medvedevis the first leader in the Kremlin for nearly a century who does notcome with Communist Party baggage. He has also cultivated a morerelaxed style than Putin. But as he enters his second year in theKremlin it seems that he is still more in office than in power.