Shadowboxing For The Title

Medvedev sent his special envoy to meet with rebels in Benghazi. Putin, as all here recall, was and remains vocally critical of the NATO operation. The younger man makes an interesting gesture, adding to uncertain buzz in Moscow. Not only calling Khadaffi to leave, Medvedev then (gratuitously) declared Russia will not shelter him.

NATO in a way may be forcing Medvedev’s hand. Attack helicopters, missile spotters and SAS shooters in Libya are a bit astray from a UN humanitarian mandate. Much as Putin predicted. Libya’s a political football match that many gladly would see wrapped up soon. Medvedev’s in for a penny, in for a pound, wrapping himself around the G-8 declaration.

Both Putin and Medvedev mostly continue campaigning for 2012 via mime: Putin’s photo ops usually target older and less educated demographics, showing outdoor hardihood or feats of daring. Medvedev apparently likes to sound like a lawyer and embraces high tech.

Even a year ago many assumed Medvedev still would be Putin’s poodle. No longer. Now, Medvedev wears a “Russia’s Commander In Chief” jacket. (The CiC can fire the Prime Minster – subtle, no?). He then forced one of Putin’s proteges out of running a rich company. Successfully. And now they’ve split on Libya.

So how do people who will really decide things make up their minds? The officials, oligarchs and power players within the political-economic sphere? (The ‘people’ will be presented with a decision to ratify). Who’s really up? Down? No one knows. Everyone’s guessing. And everyone’s lying.

The tandem (as they’re called) even have different scripts for the nomination of McFaul to be the new ambassador. For one side, McFaul is shallow, duplicitous and his lack of any previous diplomatic training a sign of contempt. He signals that Washington plans more ram and cram policies (Oh Lord, if they only knew!). The other side sees the ambassador as a great opportunity for Russia. Moscow would have direct contact with Obama and the White House staff, bypassing the slow, wooden, unimaginative State Department (per the script).

Care to share? What’s your take?


  1. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Medvedev tacks to the Right.

    Not hard to understand. Putin’s approval rating falling to low 30s. Medvedev’s falling faster to low 20s. Putin’s recent warning of an ‘ugly’ election sobering on any number of levels – least of which his declaration that he and Russia must be ‘cleansed’ afterwards. If this were the 1930s, that would be a death sentence on his own political apparatus. It’s not but he’s told the cicadas how long they have.

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