Medvedev still firmly in Putin's shadow

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The Independent Online

A year after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s election, people are still convinced that the real president and the real leader of the country is Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

In March 2008, Putin ensured Medvedev's election while seeming to pass on the mantle of leadership. But one year on, Putin's protégé has still not come out of his mentor's shadow.

For Russians, Prime Minister Putin remains the most influential politician and Medvedev is his right-hand man. According to Maria Lipman, a political analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Centre, “the same attitude is actually shared by the Russian commentaries, by people in the elite”. She adds, “It is assumed that in the ruling tandem Medvedev is the junior partner even one year into his presidency.”

In August 2008, Russian tanks entered Georgia. Dmitry Medvedev stayed in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin went to the front, but victory was bittersweet.

The president did not emerge any stronger from the war. On the contrary, with the economic crisis, only a third of Russians now trust him and more than ever it is the prime minister who they see as the only person capable of preserving the stability now under threat.

From France 24