ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Russia's New President

Dmitry Medvedev has many challenges, only one of which is whether he should remain in Putin’s shadow.

Dmitry Medvedev’s overwhelming victory as president of Russia in the polls on March 2 was a foregone conclusion as he was “Putin’s choice”. As already agreed between the two, Vladimir Putin will be Medvedev’s prime minister after the official transfer of power in May. A majority of Russians welcome this move as they want Putin to continue to be around.

For many Russians, life has become better over the last eight years during the Putin presidency and so they tend to overlook the authoritarian rule of the outgoing president. The surging oil and gas prices, a rise in consumer spending and large inflows of foreign capital have all been highlighted to show that the economy is booming, which grew by 8 per cent in 2007. And most economists believe that Russia will survive the global financial crisis much better than the western world. This is only one side of the story. Although Russia’s economy is at present expanding, in order to sustain growth Medvedev will have to adopt stringent measures that may turn out to be unpopular. More important, there is little indication that the social indicators which rapidly deteriorated in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union have fully recovered.

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