Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Medvedev vows to work with new US leader, hopes they're not "semi-senile"

Dmitry Medvedev, the man likely to be Russia's next president, promised to work with the new president of the US, but hopes that they will not have "semi-senile views." Medvedev thinks that the US and Russia have much common ground on issues like terrorism and regional security.

"Although, of course, it's easier to work with people who have modern positions, and not with those who have glints of the past in their eyes, who frequently profess such semi-senile views," Medvedev added. He did not elaborate on whether he was referring to John McCain, or just expressing frustration in working with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Meanwhile former chess champion Gary Kasparov, who tried and was blocked in his effort to form an opposition party in Russia urged the West not to accept any offers from Medvedev and not to invite him to the next G8 summit. "If they invite Medvedev that will mean effectively the recognition of this criminal election process," Kasparov said.

Kasparov expects that Medvedev will reach out to the West, but that this will lead to a split within the Kremlin leadership between liberals looking for better relations and hard-liners who want a more confrontational approach.

What's really going on behind the scenes in the Kremlin though is anybody's guess. I went to a talk about Putin's rule in Russia last week. It was really interesting to hear several really smart people who have studied Russia for most of their adult lives admit that they could not guess what was going on behind the scenes with Medvedev and Putin, or be able to give a good prediction on what might happen once Medvedev takes power.
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