Is Medvedev finding his voice?

There’s some interesting Kremlinology in Charles Clover’s Financial Times piece today about President Medvedev’s decision to hire two new speechwriters: Mr Medvedev’s new head speechwriter, Eva Vasilevskaya, previously worked with him when he was first deputy prime minister and has been a member of his speechwriting team since he came to the Kremlin. She will ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
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579709_091008_dima2.jpg
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sits inside a tractor during a sugar beet harvest in Maloarkhangelsk on October 2, 2009. Medvedev made a routine working visit to the region. AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / KREMLIN POOL / VLADIMIR RODIONOV (Photo credit should read VLADIMIR RODIONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

There's some interesting Kremlinology in Charles Clover's Financial Times piece today about President Medvedev's decision to hire two new speechwriters:

Mr Medvedev’s new head speechwriter, Eva Vasilevskaya, previously worked with him when he was first deputy prime minister and has been a member of his speechwriting team since he came to the Kremlin. She will play a central role in drafting the annual address to the general assembly, expected in late October or early November, the most important speech of the year for Mr Medvedev.

Alexei Chadaev, a conservative political commentator, is expected shortly to be named as a speechwriter working alongside the Kremlin’s first deputy chief of staff, Vladislav Surkov, who oversees management of the Kremlin’s domestic political machine. Mr Chadaev is known for a public criticism of Mr Surkov’s ideology in January. Yet to be confirmed, his appointment has been widely reported by Moscow papers with close links to the Kremlin and people in the Kremlin have confirmed that background checks are being carried out.

There’s some interesting Kremlinology in Charles Clover’s Financial Times piece today about President Medvedev’s decision to hire two new speechwriters:

Mr Medvedev’s new head speechwriter, Eva Vasilevskaya, previously worked with him when he was first deputy prime minister and has been a member of his speechwriting team since he came to the Kremlin. She will play a central role in drafting the annual address to the general assembly, expected in late October or early November, the most important speech of the year for Mr Medvedev.

Alexei Chadaev, a conservative political commentator, is expected shortly to be named as a speechwriter working alongside the Kremlin’s first deputy chief of staff, Vladislav Surkov, who oversees management of the Kremlin’s domestic political machine. Mr Chadaev is known for a public criticism of Mr Surkov’s ideology in January. Yet to be confirmed, his appointment has been widely reported by Moscow papers with close links to the Kremlin and people in the Kremlin have confirmed that background checks are being carried out.

The reshuffle underlines a new ideological direction Mr Medvedev appears to be taking, away from that of his predecessor and mentor, Vladimir Putin, prime minister, who remains the hegemonic figure in Russian politics. Until now Mr Medvedev has made only a handful of appointments, mostly federal governors, and overwhelmingly those surrounding him are Mr Putin’s former staff.

It’s easy to read too much into moves like this and it’s hard to see how new speechwriters will make Medvedev more politically independent if the people surrounding him actually implementing policy are still Putin loyalists. Still, expect plenty of tea leaf reading after the assembly speech as analysts search for signs that Vova and Dima aren’t getting along. 

VLADIMIR RODIONOV/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Russia

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