It is hardly a mystery for President Dmitry Medvedev that his “modernization” project is not going anywhere; it is, however, unclear whether this is an issue.
Medvedev remains reluctant to assert this authority and prefers a small-steps policy, such as reducing the list of “strategic” enterprises that must be protected from bankruptcy –and from falling into the hands of Western competitors– from 231 to 41. Medvedev cannot win bureaucratic hearts and minds by arguing that “flexibility and adaptability have become much more popular words today than stability and predictability,” but this discourse cuts into Putin’s rationale for reclaiming the presidency (Vedomosti-blogs, June 18). Words about change could gain unstoppable momentum, but Medvedev has to start believing in them himself. A precedent that might give him an idea was created ten years ago at the dawn of Putin’s era: Aleksandr Nikitin, an expert in the ecological NGO, Bellona, was acquitted from FSB charges of high treason. Every day in the farcical court case against Khodorkovsky, directed by Putin, discredits Medvedev’s presidency, but a stroke of the pen could make him a free man. Medvedev extols that his personal relations with Putin have not changed –but perhaps they should.