Though it feels like part of a scripted plot of an unknown conclusion more than an spontaneous outburst, yesterday President Dmitry Medvedev publicly criticized Vladimir Putin’s handling of the economy, which is the second time he has spoken out “independently” in the past month. Let’s wait for some more information before jumping to conclusions, but naturally some options are 1) they are paving the way for Medvedev’s resignation and restoration of Putin, 2) Putin is getting scapegoated and prepared for removal (unlikely), 3) both members of the tandemocracy are on the chopping block while a fresh face emerges, or 4) the Kremlin is just doing this to function as a pressure release valve to satiate the rising public discontent which has erupted in recent months.
From the Financial Times:
Mr Medvedev said only 30 per cent of the government’s anti-crisis programme, which was drafted last October, had been fulfilled.
“Wehave to acknowledge that at the present moment planned measures arebeing fulfilled more slowly than expected and, most important, moreslowly than the current situation demands,” the president told at ameeting held at the Salyut engine plant outside Moscow. (…)
Mr Medvedev used yesterday’s meeting to cite a series of dismaleconomic indicators, including a 6 per cent drop in Russian industrialoutput in the final quarter of last year and a sharp drop in globalcommodities prices that has hit the resource-based economy hard.