Sixty five years normally would not be considered a significant anniversary, but Victory Day is special for all Russians, so every official fanfare was blown last weekend and military parades were held from Sakhalin to Sevastopol.
What makes this date of particular importance for Medvedev is that it marked two years since his inauguration as Russia’s third president, and by any account, his track record is far less impressive than Putin’s was in the middle of his first term.
Despite Medvedev’s sincere commitment, the sustainability of this trend remains problematic. Economic recession dictates a moderate and pragmatic course in international affairs but the crisis of the petro-authoritarian system of power determines further spasms and zigzags in political behavior. Putin is far more organic to this system than Medvedev, but he also remains a personification of its inadequacy to the task of steering Russia across the sea of global troubles. Powerful bureaucratic forces, as well as personal preferences, are at work aimed at returning Putin to his “natural” place in the Kremlin, but that would inevitably signify a major setback in Russia’s unfinished transition from Stalinism.