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Medvedev’s Call for Reform Rings Hollow

We’ve been enjoying reading Dmitry Medvedev’s article today, which although entitled “Go Russia!” is actually much more pessimistic in tone.  I like to see a well earned place for cynicism in politics, and in the case of Russia’s authoritarian drift in the past few years, it is long overdue (one can sense the hand of Igor Yurgens behind this one).  However, one can’t help but think that maybe a year ago when Medvedev made statements like this, we all took it a little bit more seriously.  Back then, we hadn’t yet been completely disabused of the myth that he had his own independent base of power.  When he writes something like “We have to create a modern efficient judiciary, acting in accordance with new legislation on the judicial system and based on contemporary legal principles,” or “The political system will be renewed and improved via the free competition of open political associations,” all we can do is nod our heads in agreement, applaud, and then wait for nothing to happen as usual.



There is a reasonable argument that it is better to have this kind ofempty dialogue rather than no dialogue at all, but when the formerChairman of Gazprom is the one voice to complain about the excessinfluence of the state in the business sector, then we know we have aproblem taking it seriously.

Other observers have taken it a bitfurther.  My thanks to a commenter, who points us to this acerbicreaction to the Medvedev article by Aleksander Ryklin:

“My first reaction when I read the piece was adesire to copy it and rework it a bit. For example, maybe put it on apink background and decorate it with flowers here and there. To markout particular paragraphs with lipstick kisses and others with smileyfaces.”

Ouch.