Alexei Bayer attempts to tell the fortunes of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, voicing his surprise at the former puppet President’s longevity in the government. Bayer attempts to figure out which aspects of Medvedev’s potential usefulness are able to outweigh his less inspiring roles as, for example, ‘constant reminder to Putin of his failure to create a viable successor’ or general ‘nonentity’. The most likely outcome for Medvedev, says Bayer, is to be used as a scapegoat in some form.
Medvedev’s lingering liberal image could also come handy if Putin clamps down on dissent after the Sochi Olympics, as many in the opposition fear. Medvedev could then be blamed for undermining the state. By the same token, if the recent small-scale amnesty were to be followed by other steps designed to achieve reconciliation at home and burnish Russia’s image abroad, Medvedev could once again be put forward as a reformer. But in any case, Putin will remain as the country’s tough and uncompromising national leader.