Oh Look, it's the Little Bear
We do not ordinarily approve of referring to the goings on in Russia, as Alexander Golts does below when analyzing Russia's pathetic efforts to contest a new cold war, with the term "farce" because that implies some level of jocularity, and millions of lives are at stake. Yet, it's hard to find any other word in this case to describe what has occurred in Russia over the past fortnight.
The idea that anyone in Russia is strong enough to serve independently as "president" while Vladimir Putin sits "below" him as prime minister, giving orders to Putin when necessary and dismissing him if the nation's interest called for it, is so ludicrous that the mere suggestion of it offends the intelligence of a turnip. The idea that Medvedev, Putin's #1 ass-licker with absolutely no power base of his own, could serve such a role is so wildly insane that only a neo-Soviet Russian could suggest it with a straight face. On top of that laughable outrage, Putin obviously thinks he can market Medvedev to the West as a so-called "liberal" even after purging the Russian parliament of every single "liberal" member. In other words, he takes the West for subhuman idiots who can be duped with absurd ease, exactly what the leaders of the USSR always thought.
The Moscow Times reported: "Valery Musin, Medvedev's former academic adviser at Leningrad State University, had this to say to Moscow Times reporter Nabi Abdullaev in a profile of Medvedev published last month: "Medvedev's personality was shaped under Putin's strong influence, and he worships Putin like a father figure, or at least like an older brother." Stanislav Belkovsky, a former Putin spin doctor who heads the Institute of National Strategy, a think tank, to old the MT that "Medvedev is very soft and psychologically dependent on Putin. This is extremely important for Putin. He needs to feel comfortable with his subordinates. Putin is the real master of Gazprom, and Medvedev is just his envoy." Viktor Ilyukhin, a senior Communist official, told the MT: "Medvedev is insecure, weak. Putin can have full control of him."
In the space of two weeks, Vladimir Putin has destroyed both Russia's parliament and its presidency. It never had a real court system, and now Putin can truly cackle with glee: "L'etat, c'est moi!" Now, only the prime ministry matters, and Putin can call the shots without even needing to take any blame for what goes wrong -- the figurehead "president" is a perfect scapegoat in that event. He can initiate a bold new round of crackdowns on civil rights and liberties while holding up Medvedev as a cover to the West. Should things go "too far" he can always "step in" and "take the reigns back" to "calm things down." Or, he can simply order Medvedev to start a "draft Putin" movement to bring him back to power formally and forever. As opposition leader Vladimir Ryzhkov told the MT: "The strategy is as follows: Medvedev is a compromise choice because he will allow Putin to keep a free hand. If Putin wants to gradually leave power, Medvedev guarantees him comfort and security and will continue to listen him," Ryzhkov said on Ekho Moskvy radio. "If Putin wants to return in two, three years, Medvedev will be the person who will without a doubt give up the path for him."
Russians would rankle with contempt towards any foreigner who would dare treat them this way, yet they blithely accept such patronizing outrage from their own government. They stood and fought Hitler, but they allowed Stalin to inflict far more devastating injuries upon them without lifting a finger to stop him.
They are, as Lilia Shevtova recently wrote, committing suicide. It's a truly horrible thing to behold.