According to a new joke making the round of European capitals, two Russians are discussing their new president. “I wonder how things will work out after Medvedev takes over,” says one. The other replies, ” A lot will depend on the new prime minister.” Although Dimitry Medvedev is a strong Russian nationalist, he does not bring to the office the same background in Soviet KGB activities that was so characteristic of Putin. Medvedev, s chairman of Gazprom, knows the current economic boom in his nation is mainly due to oil and gas sources, not to a surging economy built on high tech. Any changes in the need for oil would have a disastrous impact on the Russian economy.
All good things invariably come to an end. The challenge for Medvedev is taking his nation into new economic and political directions. No one wants to return to the chaos which followed Gorbachev’s dismantling of the Soviet state, but many hunger for an end to the tight government controls that were instituted under Putin. Hopefully, Medvedev represents a new middle ground for the Russian people.