Putin vs. Medvedev on Georgia War in 2008
Belfer Center’s Power & Policy
August 10, 2012
Commentary by: Simon Saradzhyan, Belfer Center fellow
Topic: Russian-Georgian war
“This August, Russia, Georgia and its breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia commemorate the fourth anniversary of the war that they fought in 2008.
But while the mood has been predictably festive in Moscow and the two provinces, which prevailed in that war, there has already been, as Russians say, at least one spoonful of tar in the barrel filled with honey. Anonymous authors have posted a ‘documentary’ on Youtube, in which three former high-ranking Russian commanders accuse Russia’s then Commander-in-Chief Dmitry Medvedev of indecisiveness during the initial stage of the 2008 war. The documentary doesn’t only criticize Medvedev, but also lauds his mentor and Russia’s current Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin as playing a decisive role in preparing a plan to repel Georgia and then ordering its execution. The incumbent president’s response to these claims indicates that his PR strategists may be seeking not only to boost Putin’s ratings, but also to offer a more convincing explanation as to why he had to come back to the Kremlin four years after stepping down and backing Medvedev to succeed him as Russia’s president.”