The election of Medvedev to the presidency of Russia is still linked with the ongoing power manipulations of Vladmir Putin who is using his new role as prime minister to continue protraying himself as the real leader of his nation. But, in his recent speech before a German audience, Medvedev indicated evidence there was a new voice about
Russia that lacked the bellicose and defiant tone of his predessor. He spoke to the group in a moderate tone of voice which suggests he wants to recast his nation as more open minded and more wlling to work with Europe. ‘One thing is clear,” the told the audience, “a free market and openess will guarantee to the world the irreversibility of our reforms. By overthrowing the Soviet system and rejecting its restoration, Russia has laid the foundation for the formation of a state campatible with the rest of Europe. If I may use the language of (John) Le Care, Russia has returned from the cold,” His reference was to the spy novelist who wrote about the Cold War.
The audience responded with enthusiasm to the Russian leader. Medvedev made clear his nation still is not satisfied with American led efforts to establish missile bases near its borders and he worries about European efforts to transform the Ukraine into a new member of the EU.
Perhaps, the election of a Barack Obama can initiate new American ppolicies that strengthen the ability of Medvedev to foster a more democratic environment within Russia. If he can persuade Europe and the Americans to abadon things like missile bases he will emerge as a more powerful leader who can challenge the more authoritarian minded Putin.