Medvedev: Putin won't take Russia back

2011-10-15 21:07
Moscow - President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday denied that Vladimir Putin's expected return to the Kremlin would throw Russia back to its past but admitted the decision disappointed some of his supporters.

Lampooned by liberals as a lame duck who had failed to change Russia in his presidency, Medvedev sought to regain the initiative in a town hall-style meeting with supporters at the trendy Red October complex in central Moscow.

Medvedev is expected to take on the post of prime minister after ceding the Kremlin to Putin in 2012 elections and he insisted the authorities would press ahead with the political and economic change Russia urgently needs.

"This arrangement is not a return to the past but a way to solve the tasks that stand before us," Medvedev said, referring to the scheme unveiled last month for Russia's ruling tandem to swap jobs.

Popularity

Medvedev admitted for the first time that a portion of his supporters - who had pinned their hopes on him to modernise Russia - were disappointed by the decision to allow strongman Putin back into the Kremlin.

"I know that some of my supporters - those people who had talked about the necessity of change - felt some kind of disappointment or some slight feeling of tension."

But he gave the bluntest of reasons why Putin - who was president from 2000-2008 and has dominated Russia for over a decade - was returning to the Kremlin in March 2012 elections he is almost certain to win.

"My (popularity) rating and the rating of Vladimir Putin are high. But his rating is higher."

Medvedev acknowledged he owed his political career to Putin and said he was not going to "hack down" those who had helped him in his life. "I'm not brought up that way," he said.

Some observers detected splits earlier this year between the president and Putin on modernisation but the Medvedev made clear "we are not competitors but close comrades, friends".

Liberal economists and analysts have expressed fear of a return to Soviet-style practices under Putin, who showed little appetite for reform in most of his presidency and drastically curtailed civil liberties.

Pro-Medvedev event

Despite Medvedev's pledges to create a more diverse society in Russia, the meeting was largely marked by softball questions and expressions of admiration thrown by prominent businessmen and other figures known to support him.

Rustam Adagamov, who under the name Drugoi (Other) is one of Russia's best known bloggers, told Moscow Echo radio that he had turned down an invitation to attend after discovering the event was dominated by supporters of ruling party United Russia.

But the president said that Russia now needed to think "in what way we can have wholesale change of our system of state management".

He proposed that Russia should have for the first time a "big government" while would bring together United Russia, experts and regional officials.

"And also with those who do not completely agree with us - if they are prepared for this of course," said Medvedev, who did not wear a tie and strolled among the participants to create a sense of informality.

Extent of corruption

Medvedev vowed that completely new faces would come into his cabinet if he became prime minister.

He said that when he had first taken public office he had found the state apparatus was "much more awful" than he had imagined.

Medvedev said he had no illusions about the extent of corruption in Russia, which he described as "huge". He said he understood that "a large proportion of public life in Russia consists of corrupt practices".

He also said that Russian authorities had to learn to communicate with their citizens or risk ending up on the "rubbish dump of history" like the regimes toppled in the Arab Spring.

He said that those regimes had lost power because they had "not been ready to respond to the fundamental challenges facing people".
- SAPA
Read more on:    dmitry medvedev  |  vladimir putin  |  russia
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.