Russia’s outgoing President Vladimir Putin believes that Dmitry Medvedev, who won the recent presidential election in the country, will have his own style of presidency. That was Putin’s response to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s remark, who said that the outgoing president and his successor looked very much alike.
"When going to meet Medvedev, I saw you on the television and felt at a loss as to who is who. Your appearances are very much alike," Mubarak said before heading in for talks with Putin in his official residence in the Moscow region.
“Despite the likeness in appearance, Medvedev is sure to have his own style," Putin replied. "He was a co-author of Russia's foreign policy, he is competent and you will find it easy to deal with him," Interfax quoted Putin as saying.
Dmitry Medvedev gave his first lengthy interview to the Financial Times newspaper. In the interview the president elect spoke about basic problems of Russia’s home and foreign policies. The interview showed that the West was extremely interested in the distribution of powers between the president and the government. Speaking about his future work with Putin, Medvedev said that the outgoing Russian president was a strong leader who was ready to continue working further to keep the course of Russia’s development. Medvedev emphasized that there would be no dual power in the partnership with Putin because the Constitution sharply defines the powers of the president and the prime minister. Medvedev said that other world leaders can learn a lot from Putin.
“Any leader and any boss should examine a question with the greatest thoroughness. And then, after having made a decision, implement it with the same degree of intensity. These are exactly President Putin’s qualities and this is why he is such a popular and effective leader. And it’s also very important that we are tied by friendship and by trust. This is very important in politics,” Dmitry Medvedev said in the interview with the Financial Times.
Medvedev told the Financial Times in an interview published Tuesday that he plans to strengthen the rule of law by bolstering the independence of courts and demanding respect for the constitution. He said Russia could not develop economically unless judges can interpret the law without interference.
The Russian court system has a long tradition of corruption and bending to the will of government officials.
"Unfortunately - I have spoken about this many times - Russia is a country where people don't like to observe the law," he said, according to the newspaper. "It is, as they say, a country of legal nihilism."
Medvedev, who called himself a lawyer "down to my bones," answered the newspaper's questions with long, scholarly responses, the AP reports.
He denied that he is inviting trouble by naming outgoing President Vladimir Putin to the prime minister's job. Critics say the move would divide power and lead to a potential rivalry.
The president-elect has not said if he would ease the Kremlin's limits on what can be said in national media and permit more open political discussion.
He also expressed interest in improving relations with Britain, but at the same time repeated accusations that the British Council, a cultural organization, has been involved in spying.
Russia's next president reassured the newspaper's journalists that Russia's definition of democracy doesn't differ from that of others, in contrast with Kremlin claims in recent years that its authoritarian-style rule amounted to "managed" or "sovereign" democracy.
Kremlin officials had said Russia 's unique history and culture dictated a different style of democracy than in other nations.
But Medvedev, who is to take office in May, added: "Each democracy has its history and its nationality."
Medvedev also took a tough line on the efforts by Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO, telling the newspaper: "No state can be pleased about having representatives of a military bloc to which it does not belong coming close to its borders."
The incoming Russian president also suggested that he thought Russia was insulated from a threatened global economic slowdown, calling Russia's financial markets "islands of stability in the ocean of financial turmoil."