“The results of the presidential elections … are a reflection of the will of an electorate whose democratic potential was, unfortunately, not tapped.”
In the end, though, the protests won’t change a thing. The question now is of whether Medvedev will divert from the Putin school of governance. Will he usher in – as USA Today puts it – “a return of lost democratic freedoms and a dialing back of Putin’s Cold War rhetoric”?
It’s a difficult one to call. That Putin is still heavily involved in Russian politics – in his new role of Prime Minister – doesn’t bode well. And neither does Medvedev’s remark that his policies will be "a direct continuation of that path which is being carried out by President Putin". On the other hand, the new President’s been making use of “liberal language” over the past few weeks.
Maybe we’ll just have to reserve judgement. But – with the dubious way in which he achieved his victory – Medvedev certainly hasn’t got off to a great start.