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Leading Russian Pundit Says Putin's Statement On Libya Was A Mistake

Vladimir PutinMoscow, 21 March: The critical assessment by the president of the prime minister's pronouncements on the situation in Libya is a reminder of the need to observe the loyalty within the ruling tandem, Foundation for Effective Politics president Gleb Pavlovskiy believes.
[image adapted from version at www.rferl.org bearing attribution to RIA Novosti]

"Putin's pronouncements provoked a retort from Medvedev, which one should interpret as a reminder of the standards of necessary loyalty for the members of the tandem, who cannot conduct rival election campaigns," Pavlovskiy told Interfax on Monday (21 March).

In his view, "by making his statement, Putin created a pretext for the people who seek a split in the tandem". "He unwittingly sent a contradictory signal to those who seek the opportunity to unite against Medvedev and his policy. This signal was a mistake on the prime minister's part, and not only Medvedev's opponents, but Putin's opponents too have indeed seized on this - all those who wish to break up the tandem, to destabilize the whole situation," the political scientists insisted.

In his opinion, "the prime minister's pronouncements can be interpreted by certain circles in the power structures in such a way that they will create an unfavourable situation for both members of the tandem".

"This signal is indeed unusual. We shall see and hear a chorus of Medvedev's opponents, including his opponents in the power apparatus, as well as a in the executive and the legislature, who have until now been afraid to come into the open, and may now cry out: 'Let Putin be our leader and political standard-bearer!' And this is dangerous," Pavlovskiy believes.

The political scientists fears that a situation may arise which will slip out of the tandem's control. "Putin cannot fail to grasp that the formation of different platforms may start, and that it will no longer be Putin or Medvedev who orchestrates this process but the populist protest sentiment of the masses. If the prime minister is ready for this, he may move in this direction. I believe, however, that he does not want this," the expert noted.

At the same time, Pavlovskiy rejected attempts to present the pronouncement made by the president and the prime minister today as disagreements within the tandem. "If the question is whether Putin has a position on an alternative political concept, then one can definitely say that there is no such concept (sentence as received). Everything he did during his presidency is done within the framework of Medvedev's foreign policy priorities too," the political scientist said.

"Until now, they have been very skilful at playing as a duet. It would be a pity to lose this skill in the future. The union, however, will be preserved," the expert noted. (Passage omitted: quotes from earlier statements on Libya made by Putin and Medvedev)

("Putin's statement on Libya confirmed once again that each member of the Medvedev-Putin tandem has his own role. Medvedev ensures the continuity of the political system, while Putin is concerned with guarantees of its stability," Gazprom-owned, editorially independent Ekho Moskvy news agency earlier quoted Pavlovskiy telling Ekho Moskvy radio. Putin's statement is "quite natural" because the West's intervention in the Libyan unrest is "intervention of the archaic, colonial kind", Pavlovskiy said. Meanwhile Medvedev "promotes his agenda, which Putin also supports - that of alliance with the West, which does not, however, mean participation in the West's wars", he added.

These comments appear to have been made before Medvedev's latest statements on Libya.)

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