- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Medvedev is ‘dead man walking’ as Putin undoes his Russian reforms
MOSCOW — Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, once one of Russia’s most popular leaders, is now politically a “dead man walking” as his former mentor, President Vladimir Putin, undermines him, leading many to predict that the ruthless president is preparing to dump his reform-minded protege.
Mr. Putin has been reversing Mr. Medvedev’s reforms, making slander a crime again and imposing Kremlin control over the direct election of Russian governors. Meanwhile, the pro-Putin state-controlled media ignores the prime minister or carries negative stories about him.
Analysts generally agree that Mr. Medvedev’s dismissal and political obscurity are imminent.
“Mr. Putin has already decided on the issue of Mr. Medvedev. Now it’s just a matter of time before he goes,” said Andrei Piontkovsky, a Moscow-based political writer. “This will be when it’s most advantageous for Mr. Putin.”
Nikolay Petrov, an analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center, was more succinct: “In a political sense, Mr. Medvedev is a dead man walking.”
When Mr. Medvedev was elected president five years ago, he proclaimed, “Freedom is better than nonfreedom.” He inspired a generation of urban, educated Russians who were hoping for genuine reforms.
But Mr. Medvedev proved too independent for Mr. Putin, who served as prime minister during his presidency. Mr. Putin, president from 2000 to 2008, could not seek a third consecutive term under the Russian Constitution and tapped Mr. Medvedev to be a place-holder until he could run again in 2012.
There also has been widespread speculation that Mr. Putin, who as president appoints the prime minister, could replace Mr. Medvedev with Sergei Shoigu, the newly installed and popular defense minister.
In another high-profile slight, Mr. Putin in November personally picked the head of the ruling United Russia party’s parliamentary faction instead of letting Mr. Medvedev, the official party leader, do the job.
Mr. Putin’s irritation with Mr. Medvedev stems in part from his belief that the younger politician’s support for reforms as president gave birth to an anti-Putin movement. As prime minister late last year, Mr. Medvedev expressed public sympathy for Mr. Putin’s critics.
“Certain issues that are being voiced [by the opposition] are probably reasonable, and the authorities should take action on them,” Mr. Medvedev said.
Mr. Medvedev also spoke out for a milder handling of a feminist punk group whose anticlerical and anti-Putin prayer in a Moscow cathedral landed several of its members in jail last year. Mr. Putin accused the group of “undermining moral foundations” of Russia, but Mr. Medvedev criticized the court’s harshness in imposing a three-year sentence on the musicians.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.