In Shift of Tone, Medvedev Talks Political Reform

A few days ago we ran a translation of an important article from Nezavisimaya Gazeta about a shift in the Russian government’s attitude to relations with the West. Then today, this from the Financial Times:

Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday unleashed unusually harsh criticism of the Kremlin’s overly centralised system of decision making, indicating the Russian president was dissatisfied with his government’s own crisis management skills after the Georgia crisis and recent financial market turmoil. Speaking to officials in the eastern province of Kamchatka he said: “It is too bad when all decisions, including those on operational issues, are made by the president. That means we do not have a system of management.”

He said authorities had failed to make decisions quickly enough. “We simply cannot work. We need to act faster, [and] make … reasonable management decisions.”“Otherwise, we shall simply feel ashamed about the missed opportunities.”His comments implied that he favoured the Kremlin loosening its grip on politics, though it was unclear how far he intended to go or if his remarks went much beyond public relations comments aimed at Western audiences.

Full article here.