Serdyukov’s Two Presidents

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.

One response to “Serdyukov’s Two Presidents

  1. No real surprises here.

    First of all the alpha dog and batman and robin stuff is just american diplomats opinions. It is clear they see Putin as the tough guy who is running the show… and who cares as long as he is doing a good job and driving Russia forward in the right direction.

    The second bit about Serdyukov I am actually a bit relieved that he sees his role as serving two presidents. Lets be realistic… Putin and Medvedev are in the same political party so their direction and ideas should be very similar anyway. It is like a popular republican president stepping down after his second term and his replacement coming from the republican party too. I would also add that a fundamental flaw in democracy is the potential for a new government to take power every 3-8 years depending on the period between elections… you want that period to be long for stable government that doesn’t keep changing policy all the time so you actually get nowhere, but you also want it relatively short so a bad government can be removed before it does too much damage.
    Personally I don’t understand the two terms limit for presidents simply because if the people want someone to govern them who cares how long they remain in power?
    Obviously there is the fear that a dictator could rig the elections but electoral fraud is always an issue anyway so it should be something that is checked and tested every election.
    The irony is that democratically elected leaders have no defence from being labelled dictators by the US because it seems with all their undermining of democracy and ineffectual media owned by big business they no longer understand the language they use. Terrorist is the new communist and anyone in charge of a government they oppose is a dictator.

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