Putin’s macroeconomic plans are demonstratively down-to-earth, not actually make them more realistic.
Medvedev’s narrow ambitions for building one “wonder-village” seem to complement rather than contradict Putin’s “staying-the-course” set of guidelines.
Medvedev’s central task is building a political coalition of “modernizers” strong enough to dissuade Putin from re-claiming the presidency without igniting a political conflict that would be an order of magnitude more destructive than the quarrel with Luzhkov. Nothing resembling such a coalition is developing, despite the massive spin on the message, which has been rather timid since Medvedev has been softening and diluting the point that Putin’s regime has no future. This had been very nearly spelled out last year in the article “Go, Russia!” Putin emerged as supremely confident and slightly ironic in carefully edited TV reporting on a recent power-breakfast, while a tense Medvedev appeared visibly uncomfortable in the role of mayor-slayer. Economic and political modernizations are inseparable, but the latter would amount to a rebellion –and a rebel the Russian President is not.