Back during all of the hullabaloo over Yuri Luzhkov’s ouster, a number of voices were speculating that one of the reasons he fell below political redemption was that he had attempted to “drive a wedge” between Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. Personally, I think the idea, more than the reality, that such a wedge could exist and the uncertainty it creates is the most powerful political weapon in the United Russia arsenal. Nevertheless, a lot of people take the conceptual and rhetorical split more seriously. Might Igor Yurgens be straying toward the Luzhkovian fringe in some of his recent comments? From Vladimir Frolov in the Moscow Times:
Then on Oct. 21, Igor Yurgens, who is head of the Institute for Contemporary Development and claims to be an adviser to Medvedev, crossed the line by stating that Putin should not run for president again in 2012 because “modernization is associated, both domestically and abroad, with Medvedev.”
Yurgens condescendingly sought to disparage Putin as being “popularwith conservative voters — the ones who make an emphasis on stability,discipline and order.”
Then Yurgens placed a political kiss of death on Medvedev, sayingthat he is “popular with liberals bent on progress and changes” andpainting Medvedev as an elitist “liberal” — a public image that all butdooms his electoral prospects. Yurgens earlier endorsed NATO membershipfor Russia. With friends like these, does Medvedev need enemies?