Much has been written about the ‘death of the tandem’ of Vladimir Putin and Dmitrii Medvedev since they switched offices in the Kremlin. Although analyzing the tandem has been akin to reading the tea leaves of Soviet politics in the era of ‘Kremlinology’, it is worthwhile examining whether the tandem still exists and what the nature of the relationship between Russia’s president and its prime minister are under the new configuration of power.
Although the tandem 2.0 is different from the tandem 1.0, it seems there is more than enough evidence suggesting the tandem survives and reason therefore to hypothesize about its political basis. I have addressed on ROPV and elsewhere the disagreements over specific policies as well as the differences in general political orientation between the tandem’s two halves. Suffice it to say here that Medvedev is more laissez faire in economics – having even referred to the ‘new’ conservatism of Reagan and Thatcher as models – and more pluralist, decentralized, and society-oriented in politics. Putin is more of a Russian “statist” and traditionalist (rather than socialist bent) preferring a strong state over both the polity and the economy. Medvedev is more Western and more inclined to support Western positions in foreign policy; Putin decidedly ‘not so much.’