Medvedev Distancing Himself From Putin On Role Of Government

Russia’s President seems to be setting up the upcoming Presidential election, where his biggest opponent is likely to be his predecessor Vladimir Putin, as a debate over the role of government in Russia’s economy:

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday challenged the legacy of his powerful predecessor, Vladimir Putin, condemning the centralization of economic and political power at the Kremlin in what was interpreted by some as an early campaign move ahead of next year’s presidential election.

Medvedev’s statements in a keynote speech to investors at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum were a strong indication that he wants to distance himself from Putin, Russia’s prime minister, in the run-up to next March’s presidential vote.

Medvedev has been widely seen as the weak half of Russia’s ruling pair, a placeholder while Putin awaits the opportunity to return to the presidency. Putin stepped down in 2008 because the constitution limited him to two consecutive terms; neither he nor Medvedev have announced whether they will run in next March’s election.

Medvedev acknowledged that the government’s expansion in managing the economy and the centralization of authority in the Kremlin under Putin was necessary in an earlier period of the country’s post-Soviet development. But, he said, “this economic mode is dangerous for the country’s future.”

“The proposition that the government is always right is manifested either in corruption or benefits to ‘preferred’ companies,” he said.

“My choice is different. The Russian economy ought to be dominated by private businesses and private investors. The government must protect the choice and property of those who willingly risk their money and reputation.”

Sounds like a good idea. Maybe we ought to try it here.

 

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook