“Mr. Putin has been reversing Mr. Medvedev’s reforms, making slander a crime again and imposing Kremlin control over the direct election of Russian governors. Meanwhile, the pro-Putin state-controlled media ignores the prime minister or carries negative stories about him.
Analysts generally agree that Mr. Medvedev’s dismissal and political obscurity are imminent.
When Mr. Medvedev was elected president five years ago, he proclaimed, “Freedom is better than nonfreedom.” He inspired a generation of urban, educated Russians who were hoping for genuine reforms.
But Mr. Medvedev proved too independent for Mr. Putin, who served as prime minister during his presidency. Mr. Putin, president from 2000 to 2008, could not seek a third consecutive term under the Russian Constitution and tapped Mr. Medvedev to be a place-holder until he could run again in 2012.