One can’t avoid Wikileaks forever . . . you’ve already read about “alpha dog” Putin, and Medvedev who plays Robin to Putin’s Batman. But not many media outlets picked up on Defense Minister Serdyukov’s story, but Argumenty nedeli did.
In early 2009, the Azeri Defense Minister reportedly shared details of his meeting with Serdyukov with the U.S. Ambassador in Baku. Sufficiently lubricated after sharing two bottles of vodka, Serdyukov allegedly asked his Azeri counterpart:
“Do you follow the orders of your President?”
Then Serdyukov volunteered:
“Well, I follow the orders of two Presidents.”
This is really no more than anecdotal confirmation of what’s been known all along — Serdyukov was put in place by Putin, and he’s part of Team Putin. While appropriately deferential and respectful of President Medvedev, Serdyukov is very unlikely to get in a situation where he might have to cross his mentors from Team Putin. Medvedev himself is part of the Team writ large, but he’s from a different, and less influential branch. So, the ruling tandem has a senior and junior member and everyone knows it.
Not exactly a revelation, but Serdyukov’s admission makes for a funny story, and no small embarrassment for him now in dealing with Dmitriy Anatolyevich.