Two years after the inauguration of President Dmitry Medvedev, analysts say his powerful predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, still wields control over Russia’s foreign policy -- especially the Kremlin’s efforts to reassert influence in the former Soviet Union.
Legally speaking, this should not be the case. Under the Russian Constitution, the president oversees foreign policy while the prime minister handles the economy and most domestic matters. But few Kremlin-watchers believe that Moscow’s foreign policy is shaped by Medvedev, who took office on May 7, 2008, and is now marking the halfway point of his presidential term.
“The leading role still clearly belongs to Putin. This reflects the unspoken agreement that was reached between Putin and Medvedev,” said Yevgeny Volk, an independent political analyst in Moscow.
“There have been some nuances and accents that have changed since Medvedev’s arrival. But these are mostly stylistic differences,” Volk added.
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Alexander Osipovich is a Moscow-based writer who specializes in regional affairs.