“The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.”
– Aldous Huxley
Dmitry Medvedev, the man Putin handpicked to be his successor, won a decisive victory in Russia’s presidential elections March 2. The result was long anticipated. Speculation now surrounds what kind of leader he will be.
Medvedev has promised to improve schools, build housing, encourage business and amend the tax code to encourage “household and social stability”, including tax breaks for retirement savings, charitable donations, education and medical costs. Medvedev has said he will also modify the health care system to allow more choice.
Media analysis of Medvedev is inconclusive. While Medvedev has presented himself as a Putin loyalist, he has also intimated that he intends to wield power in a manner “gentler” than the world has seen under the 55-year-old Putin. How sincere he really is and how much independence of action he will have are debatable, since Vladimir Putin has designated himself to become the Prime Minister of Russia when Medvedev assumes the Presidency on May 7, 2008.
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of Russia and is first in line to the presidency in the case of the President’s death or resignation. The Prime Minister is the current Head of Government of the Russian Federation. Executive power is split between the Prime Minister and the President of Russia, who is Russia’s Head of State. What this distinction means for the future governing of Russia is not clear, since the factions supporting both Putin and his protégé, as well as their motivations, remain unidentified in the world media.
In the United States of America, an examination of President George W. Bush’s policies over the past eight years suggests that the 43rd American President has been profoundly dependent upon fellow Republicans, lobbyists and obscure bureaucrats to provide direction for his Administration. However, the true motivations and objectives of these unquantified influences behind the American Presidency, as with the Russian Presidency, remain unknown.
Despite multiple changes in political party leadership at the federal level in the United States over the past thirty years, national policy has remained surprisingly consistent, both in foreign and domestic affairs.
Successive Administrations’ policies have favored big business domestically, and military intervention in foreign affairs. During the current Presidential campaign in the United States, there has been no indication made by any candidate that this trend will not continue.