Putin, Touting Old Program, Calls for New Program

Vladimir Putin’s latest article, ‘Russia muscles up – the challenges we must face’, published yesterday in Izvestia and at his electioneering website, has many mocking his recourse – yet again – to promises of ongoing stability.  The Prime Minister attempted to appeal to the common-sense of the demographic that just weeks ago he mocked, flattering ‘the middle class’ as those with the brains and integrity ‘to engage in policy’ and ‘consciously pick candidates’ (they are also, incidentally, those who are driving the oppositional movement for political change).  Smooth down those ruffled feathers, right?

Putin also said several things that those opposed to his third term in government would readily agree to: stability has nothing in common with stagnation, politicians need to exhibit openness to change, only ‘self-satisfied gentlemen’ favour the status quo – but all of these statements could easily be leveled against his own role in Russian politics.  He also suggested that dependence on oil money could be reduced through self-governance and entrepreneurship – attributes which could feasibly be used to describe Russia’s wide-spread practice of corruption, no?  No wonder he has been accused of lacking a platform.  Best of all, his assertion that ‘We will lose out if we encourage the passive position of the people.’  Too true.  Perhaps he should be writing copy for Alexei Navalny…

Further reading: RIA Novosti has some interesting analysis which compares the document to Dmitry Medvedev’s 2009 ‘Russia Onward!’ piece, which was published by Gazeta.ru.