We may see more stories of this type, the kind you see when the president is a lame duck.
Novoye vremya has an article this week about what various observers expect from Putin III — reformer or dictator. Military men see the question as a little off-the-mark for them. The magazine quotes two of them.
A General-Major S. from the staff of the Ground Troops CINC says:
“We don’t discuss it in categories of dictator-reformer. It’s important for us to know who is tsar in the country! Putin is clarity.”
General-Lieutenant N. from the Genshtab agrees that Medvedev couldn’t be such a tsar:
“Personally, I always knew that we have one Commander-in-Chief. And it wasn’t Dmitriy Anatolyevich. In the midst of the Georgian events I tried to report to the president on the situation in South Ossetia. So he interrupted me, he says, this isn’t for me. Go report to the Chief. From that point, in the Genshtab there was never confusion over subordination: the VPK and Defense Ministry churn in a triangle Serdyukov — Chemezov — Putin. The name Medvedev wasn’t discussed here and isn’t discussed.”
Interesting vignettes, especially the latter. Such a state of affairs was generally suspected. Then again, it’s safer and easier to say such a thing this week than last.