Entries in Dmitry Medvedev (16)


Kremlin Cheers Obama’s Re-Election

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a congratulatory note to President Obama, his spokesman said. 

The Kremlin says they’ll make the text public once Obama has received it.  Putin is also expected to call Obama personally “in the near future.”

“In general, the Kremlin took the news about Barack Obama's victory in the elections very positively,” spokesman Dmitri Peskov said, according to the Interfax news agency.

“We have the hope that positive initiatives in bilateral relations and in Russian-U.S. interaction on the international arena in the interests of international security and stability will be developed and improved,” he added.

It’s perhaps not surprising that the Kremlin is happy with the outcome of the election, especially since Obama told then-President Dmitry Medvedev earlier this year that he would have more flexibility to negotiate with Russia on missile defense after the election.

Now the prime minister, Medvedev told reporters in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday that he’s glad Romney didn’t win.

“I am glad that the man who calls Russia it's No. 1 foe will not be the president of this large and influential state.  That is paranoid,” he said, according to Interfax.

“Obama is an understandable and predictable partner,” Medvedev added, all in response to questions.

“There have been both successes and failures in the reset of Russia-U.S. relations, and this policy should be carried on,” he said, suggesting that now U.S.-Russian relations will “be basically normal.”

In an interview with the Moscow News on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow is prepared to cooperate with the Obama administration, saying “We are prepared to go as far as the U.S. administration is prepared to go on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Russian Prime Minister Declares War on Smoking

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- The Russian government has supported a bill that would immediately ban smoking in playgrounds, schools and universities, and prohibit smoking in restaurants and cafés by 2015.

The bill is expected to be considered in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, by Nov. 1, RIA Novosti reports. It would also restrict how and where cigarettes can be sold and marketed, as well as raise import duties on tobacco products.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared “war” on smoking Tuesday, saying the habit must be stamped out in a country that has become the world’s second largest market for tobacco, after China.

But it won’t be easy.  Forty percent of Russians -- about 44 million people -- smoke, including 60 percent of men.  About half of Russian smokers puff a pack or more a day.  Cigarettes are cheap -- about a dollar a pack -- and available almost everywhere.

Given the size of the Russian market, the tobacco industry is not giving up without a fight.  The Wall Street Journal reports the industry has launched a coordinated lobbying campaign to block the ban.  The paper quotes lawmakers saying they are under immense pressure from the companies.

The government, however, points to alarming health statistics.  Each year, around 400,000 Russians die from smoking-related illnesses, according to Medvedev, and a third of the country is addicted to nicotine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Putin and Medvedev Lead May Day Parade, Grab a Beer

DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/GettyImages(MOSCOW) -- Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin and his protégé, outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev, apparently worked up quite a thirst after leading over 100,000 people in a May Day march down a main avenue in Moscow to mark International Labor Day.

The two Russian leaders visited a local pub for a beer and some food following Tuesday’s rally.

According to video posted on the website, the table was already set with food and drinks when the pair walked in with a gaggle of press in tow, but they opted to grab a tray, cafeteria style, to see what else was on the menu.

When they got to the beer section Medvedev marveled at the variety of drinks on tap, but was happy to find an old Soviet-era brew was still available. “Still tastes good,” he said as he clinked glasses with Putin and two other men.

The annual May Day parades are still massive events in Russia, where they held special significance in the Communist Soviet Union.

Police estimated that around 150,000 people turned out for various rallies. The Moscow Times reports that at least some rally-goers were government workers who were told attendance was mandatory. The paper says they were bused in and paid for their time.

The largest rally of the day was organized by the ruling United Russia party. Other smaller rallies were held around the capital. The main opposition groups, who gathered tens of thousands of people for unprecedented protests against Putin in recent months, canceled a rally that was slated for today to focus on what they hope will be a massive rally on Sunday, the eve of Putin’s inauguration.

Organizers are calling it the “March of Millions.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Russian Leaders Do Some Role Swapping

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is getting ready to assume the presidency again on May 7 after having previously held that position.

The current president, Dmitry Medvedev, isn't exactly heading for retirement.  He'll become Russia's next prime minister.

Basically, these guys have just swapped jobs, an agreement that isn't sitting well with many Russians who feel like they're living back in the days of the old USSR when this kind of thing was commonplace.

Even more harrowing was Medvedev's declaration during an interview that he and Putin would be on the top of the roost "for a long time."

Still, that means that Medvedev is the number two man, which political observers say was the case anyway during his four-year tenure, with Putin really the one pulling the strings.

Asked if he was depressed about the demotion to prime minister, Medvedev responded, "When I get into a bad mood I do sports and then everything’s OK.  And then I go and make decisions, however painful they may be."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Russian President Says Mitt Romney Is Stuck in Cold War

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(SEOUL) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has accused Mitt Romney of being stuck in the Cold War, after the Republican presidential candidate said Russia was the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe.”

At a news conference in Seoul, Medvedev dismissed Romney’s Monday remarks, saying they “smell of Hollywood.”

Medvedev told reporters Tuesday that the U.S. presidential candidates should explain their rationale for such statements, according to the Russian Interfax news agency. He advised Romney and the other candidates to look at their watches, saying “now is not the mid-70s.”

Romney’s comments came in an interview with CNN on Monday. He cited Russia’s support for “the world’s worst actors,” including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has led a bloody crackdown on an opposition movement that is seeking his ouster.

The former Massachusetts governor was responding to comments by President Obama to Medvedev Monday. The two were overheard on an open microphone discussing a contentious U.S. missile-defense shield plan in eastern Europe that Russia opposes. Obama told Medvedev to allow him some “space” and that he’ll have more “flexibility” to negotiate with Moscow after the November election. Medvedev pledged to pass along the message to Vladimir Putin, who will return to the Kremlin in May for a third term as president.

Romney said he was “very concerned” about the exchange.

“The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed,” he said.

Medvedev told reporters Tuesday that Russia wants to continue dialogue with the United States regardless of the results of the November election, but he said that the level of trust will depend on the personality of who wins.

“I hope that the dialogue with the United States of America will continue … regardless of whoever sits in the White House,” he said, according to RIA Novosti.

“And the level of trust always depends on who performs specific duties, including the president of the United States,” he added.

He said that consultations must continue between the United States and Russia in order to resolve the differences that persist, warning that a new arms race could emerge if talks fail.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Asks Russian President for ‘Space’ on Missile Defense

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- At the tail end of his 90-minute meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday, President Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.”

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.

The conversation went as follows:

Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

Medvedev: Yeah, I understand.  I understand your message about space.  Space for you…

Obama: This is my last election.  After my election I have more flexibility.

Medvedev: I understand.  I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

When asked to explain what Obama meant, Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told ABC News that there is room for the U.S. and Russia to reach an accommodation, but “there is a lot of rhetoric around this issue -- there always is -- in both countries.”

A senior administration official told ABC News, "This is a political year in which the Russians just had an election, we're about to have a presidential and congressional elections -- this is not the kind of year in which we're going to resolve incredibly complicated issue like this.  So there's an advantage to pulling back and letting the technical experts work on this as the president has been saying."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Disagreeing on Syria, Obama Bids Farewell to Russian President

The White House/Pete Souza(SEOUL, South Korea) -- In what will almost certainly be their last presidential-level meeting, President Obama and outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had kind words for one another and the work they were able to accomplish, even as they acknowledged disagreements and tension over Syria and missile defense in Europe.

There seemed a genuine affection between the two men as they bid one another adieu at the conclusion of their 90-minute bilateral meeting on Monday, which lasted longer than expected.

Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told reporters that in their private meeting Medvedev told Obama that this had been “in his view the most productive three years in U.S.-Russia relations certainly since the Cold War.”  Medvedev said something similar in front of the cameras, saying the “reset” of the U.S.-Russia relationship had been an “extremely useful exercise and we probably have enjoyed the best level in the relations between the United States and Russia in those three years than ever in previous decades.”

Obama told reporters he could not have wished for “a better partner than Dmitry.”

The two men acknowledged wide disagreements on how to respond to the brutal crackdown in Syria by the government of Bashar al-Assad, though they said that the initiative headed by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to resolve that crisis might afford them opportunities for cooperation.

Obama said both men believed “we should be supportive of Kofi Annan’s efforts to end some of the bloodshed that is taking place in Syria,” with the goal of having a “legitimate” government in Syria.

On Iran, Obama said there needed to be a greater sense of urgency among all parties involved in the P-5+1 talks -- China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. -- to convince the Iranian regime to halt its nuclear weapons program.  There remained many disagreements over U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in Europe, though both leaders urged cooperation.

Some areas of agreement they reviewed on Monday included NATO’s use of the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) supply routes through Russia and other former Soviet states to bring materials to coalition troops in Afghanistan, as well as American support for Russia’s ascendancy into the World Trade Organization this summer. 

The two leaders also discussed attempts to allow U.S. companies greater access to Russian markets by repealing the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment, which puts limits on U.S. trade in non-market-based economies that restrict human rights.

Obama and Medvedev appeared entirely on the same page when it came to North Korea’s threat to test launch a long-range rocket, which they both said would violate its United Nations Security Council agreements.

Medvedev will hand the Russian presidency back to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin before the April Camp David summit of the G-8 superpowers.  Putin and his ruling United Russia Party have said they will support Medvedev becoming Prime Minister again.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Russian President Responds to Protests over Elections on Facebook

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev went on Facebook Sunday to answer the tens of thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets in cities all across the country calling for new elections and the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

In a post on his Facebook page, Medvedev dismissed the demonstrators’ complaints, but said he has called for an investigation of the parliamentary elections last week, which demonstrators and independent observers said were riddled with fraud.

“Under the Constitution, citizens of Russia have freedom of speech and freedom of Assembly. People have a right to express their position, which they did yesterday,” Medvedev’s short post said. “Well, that all took place within the framework of the law. I do not agree with any slogans or statements made at the rallies. Nevertheless, I have given an order to investigate all correspondence from polling stations regarding compliance with election law.”

Among the thousands of responses, most were derisive of the president and his statement.

“Doesn’t the president of Russia agree with the slogan 'For honest elections'?" one wrote.

Another said, “A stuffed clown, not a president.”

Political analysts also expressed surprise that Medvedev would respond in such an apparently informal manner to the largest public demonstration in Moscow since the collapse of the Soviet Union.  The protests were remarkable not only for their size and peacefulness, but for the range of participants: There were people of all ages and the entire political spectrum of opposition to the current government.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Who Rules Russia? Medvedev Announcement Proves It’s Putin

ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Saturday removed any doubt that his term in office has been a caretaker session, when he endorsed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s candidacy in 2012.

“I believe it would be right if the congress support party leader Vladimir Putin’s candidacy for president,” Medvedev said today at a meeting of the United Russia party, according to Interfax.

Putin, who served two terms as president before allowing Medvedev to take office in 2008, now could be president for two more six-year terms, meaning he would rule Russian until 2024.

That his party, which controls both houses of the Russian legislature, was ready for the news of a Putin presidency, was clear when the delegates rose for a standing ovation at Medvedev’s remarks.

“This applause spares me of the need to explain what experience and authority Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin possesses,” Medvedev said.

There had been speculation about whether Medvedev would run for a second term, challenging his mentor, and some of his advisors have said they thought he wanted to.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Vladimir Putin Slated to Return to Russian Presidency in 2012

Alexey Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accepted a proposal Saturday from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to stand for president in March 2012.

President Medvedev made the proposal during an address to the congress of United Russia, the pro-Kremlin party that currently dominates Russian politics.

Putin, who previously served two terms as president before Medvedev, also announced Saturday in a surprising suggestion that Russia's wealthy should pay higher taxes than average citizens.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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