Sunday, August 12, 2018

Medvedev Ignored in Russian Coverage of 10th Anniversary of Georgian War

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 12 – Dmitry Medvedev, currently Russia’s prime minister but its president in 2008 when Moscow launched its “short victorious war” against Georgia, a war he took full credit for both then and now (, was totally ignored in Moscow’s televised coverage on the anniversary of that conflict.

            Petr Mironenko and Irina Malkova of The Bell portal report that Medvedev was completely ignored in all the anniversary stories about the war carried on the First Channel and Russia and appeared only in archival footage on NTV (

                This might have not been so striking, they suggest, except for two other developments. On the one hand, Medvedev’s poll numbers have continued to fall with only 7.2 percent of Russians now saying they trust him, far less than the 35.9 percent who say they trust Putin – and only 24 percent approve the current prime minister’s policies.

            And on the other, in the week of the anniversary of the Georgian war, the Central Election Commission “unexpectedly approved three applications by ‘the legal opposition’ for the conduct of a referendum on raising the pension age, the main cause of the fall in the prime minister’s ratings.”

            That approval, of course, doesn’t mean that any referendum will in fact be held. In fact, the procedures in place make it unlikely that it will. But giving even this nod of approval to opposition is remarkable not only because it gives the Kremlin a way of backing down if it has to but also because it represents such a slap in the face of the current head of government.

            Whiting out former officials who fall out of favor is an old Russian tradition, classically described in David King’s The Commissar Vanishes. But in the handling of Medvedev in this case, Vladimir Putin has gone Stalin one better: he has eliminated the image of an official who is still in office if not of course in power. 

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