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Groundhog Day, Russian Style

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Foreign Policy lists 10 stories that appear over and over but never seem to actually happen. You HAD to figure there was going to be something in there about Venezuela or Russia, if not both…well, it’s Russia. Seventh on the list:

“New Russian president proposing liberal reforms”


Like his predecessor and benefactor Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev came into office as a mystery. Reformers in Russia and the West hoped that the easygoing lawyer would prove to be a more moderate leader than Putin, now the prime minister, proved to be.

While few doubt Putin’s ultimate influence, observers continue to speculate that Medvedev will become “his own man”, and thanks to a few speeches declaring the need for liberal reforms and speculating about his own future presidential intentions, Kremlinologists have been quick to declare that the two are not so chummy anymore. But apart from a few token gestures — meeting with friends of murdered human rights activists instead of dismissing them — there’s little evidence to date that Medvedev’s liberal program is anything but cheap talk.

See the other 9 items here.