Tag Archives: Russian policies

Kremlin Picture Politics Reveals Nothing

The history of the Soviet Union was marked by attention as to whose picture hung where, how large was the portrait, who was in the portrait and who was not. The game of picture politicsl appears to have continued into the current era of Putin and President Medvedev. During the Putin presidency, anyone in a government position understood– without being told– that a nice large portrait of the president was important if one wanted to succeed in political life. Suddenly, pictures of Putin and Medvedev have sprouted all over the Russian government as officials get the message–we have a dual leadership.

The sale of Putin portraits has dramatically declined even as portraits of the two men have soared. In Russia, a picture tells more of a tale than any dead man would reveal. Prime Minister Putin was asked by a reporter if he has a portrait of President Medvedev in his office. Putin replied, “I don’t need to bow low to his portrait–there are other ways of building a relationship.”

The real question is what would a decline in pictures depicting Putin and Medvedev reveal about the state of Russian politics.

Who Is In Charge Of Russia?

The rather unusual arrangement of leadership in Russia has left many European nations wondering exactly who makes final decisions– the president of Russia or its prime minister? There is still no clear indication as to who calls the foreign policy shots. President Medvedev just returned from a visit to China and now Prime Minister Vladmir Putin is headed for France where he will not only meet with the French prime minister but with President Sarkozy as well. There is no question Putin is exerting more power than any previous Russian prime minister. However, Putin’s spokesman, “Dimitry Peskov, said: “Russia’s foreign policy is determined by the president, as stipulated in the Constitution.”

It is possible that Putin and Medvedev are sharing foreign policy relations as marked by the president’s Asian visit the past week while Putin is heading for western Europe. Perhaps, the two men have divided up the world, but, even in the best of relationships there comes a time when two people will disagree. The real outcome of the division of responsibility will be played out over time when the two friends discover they have differences and who will come out on top when that occurs?

Most Shakespeare plays about kings and power invariably contain bloody scenes in which rivals vie for power. Will the world witness the enactment of another Shakespeare play in Moscow?