Vladimir Putin has finally ended months of speculations about the name of his successor. Dmitry Medvedev, the first Vice Prime Minister, the chairman of Gazprom’s Board of Directors, may have all chances to become Russia’s next president as long as he obtained Putin’s support.
Putin’s choice has turned out to be more predictable than many analysts could think. They originally believed that the Kremlin nominated Medvedev and another Vice Premier, Sergei Ivanov, as a blind to hide the real successor. Sergei Ivanov will probably become the next Prime Minister of Russia, when Putin’s presidency ends.
Dmitry Medvedev’s nomination became a surprise for everyone. It was rumoured that there were only a few people in the Kremlin administration, who knew Putin’s intention regarding his successor.
The reasons of Putin’s sudden decision and the world’s reaction to it is much more important, of course. It seems that the president considered a possibility of Dmitry Medvedev’s nomination for quite a while. However, many observers believed that Putin was prepared to fully support Sergei Ivanov as United Russia’s presidential nominee.
Western investors and Russian liberals were quite satisfied with Putin’s final choice. European experts, for instance, were full of positive emotions about Dmitry Medvedev’s nomination. The Russian stock market did not leave the event out of its attention: Gazprom’s shares rose by three percent yesterday.
Unlike Sergei Ivanov, Dmitry Medvedev does not tend to exert influence on Russia’s foreign policies. Having supported Medvedev, Putin set out his support of Russia’s gas giant Gazprom. It is not ruled out that Russia’s natural gas conflicts with competitors and consumers may intensify afterwards.
Medvedev is one of Putin’s closest men. He is known for his absolute loyalty and even psychological dependence on the president. Like Putin, Medvedev comes from St.Petersburg. He graduated from the Department of Law of Leningrad State University in 1987. In 1990 Medvedev became a professor of civil rights of the university. When working at the university, Medvedev met St.Petersburg’s would-be mayor, Anatoly Sobchak. Afterwards, Medvedev became a member of Sobchak’s Municipal Council, where Vladimir Putin was already working.
If Medvedev becomes the new president of Russia, he will be in close contact with Vladimir Putin. Medvedev virtually guarantees the preservation of Russia’s current democratic regime. It is not ruled out, though, that Dmitry Medvedev may become a strong and independent politician, which may worsen his relations with Putin.