How credible are Russian politicians in Europe?
Luzhkov, Primakov, Voloshin, Yeltsin… Many Russian politicians are well-known overseas. However, as it turns out, Europe does not take all of them seriously. NewsInfo managed to find out which one of our politicians possesses most credibility in Europe.
NewsInfo: Alexander, could you tells us how Sergey Ivanov (Russian Minister of Defense) is being viewed in the West?
Alexander Rar: In Germany, for instance, many consider him as a number 2 person in Russia. Some say that he might be Russian Prime Minister Kasyanov's successor. In general, he is not an unknown person. Ivanov is a frequent visitor in Western countries. He is sometimes being mistaken for Igor Ivanov (Russian Foreign Minister). Sergey Ivanov is turning into a more open-minded politician. This could mean that he is getting ready for something major. Nobody will be surprised if Putin (as he already proclaimed) will not be running for the third presidential term and instead, will give it away to Sergey Ivanov. Besides, they even look alike.
NewsInfo: Who else is considered credible in the West?
Alexander Rar: I think Sergey Ivanov is well-known in the West as a Russian Foreign Minister. However, I am doubtful that someone views him as a powerful political figure. Mainly, everyone pays close attention at Putin and his political game. Russian President is a strong political leader who managed to move his possible rivals and competitors off the stage. Here, people trust Putin's decisions. If Putin points his finger at someone, then that person will be treated with respect.
Today, there are no strong figures among governors. Luzhkov is too old. Primakov is already under Putin's wing. Voloshin is gone. Yeltsin no longer plays any significant role in the country’s politics. Yavlinksy and Nemtsov have both lost the elections to the State Duma. Today, there are no new democratic elements on the political arena. I would say that there is not a single politician who is viewed as a strong and serious leader. As far as the Prime Minister post is concerned, rumor has it that Putin does not want to have a strong minister at all.
Most likely, Sergey Ivanov will be able to strengthen his power after being appointed as Defense Secretary, while the post of a Minister will be given to someone like Kudrin or Aleshin. Such government will most likely resemble present-day president's administration. Everything will be structured in strict accordance with Vladimir Putin's plans.