vendredi 11 septembre 2009

Two presidents on reform path

A significant coincidence: the presidents of two big states made important declarations the same day: president Obama made known to the Congress the outlines of his health care reform and Russian president Medvedev published in the Internet a long article explaining his reform plans. Medvedev's article has, as far as I know, not got too much publicity, but I consider it very important. The article needs careful analysis, but some points stand out. The president doesn't mention his predecessor Putin, but launches the reform project as his own initiative. He uses the word "soviet" in clearly derogatory sense. He stresses the need of radical reforms, making two special points: Russia must modernize, create a post-industrial economy, and a truly strong and independant judiciary. He says that the two previous radical reformers -- the tzar Peter the Great and the Bolsheviks didn't care much of human lives, the reforms he thinks absolutely necessary and is intent to launch must be carried out in a democratic and humane way. If I were president of Estonia, Latvia or some other neighbour country of Russia, I would send a letter to president Medvedev telling him that Russia of his vision is precisely the Russia we would like to have as our neighbour. And I would try to tell to the other president and his administration that they should give Medvedev and his team more support. I hope Medvedev's great plans have some chances to succeed, but I am worried of several sad parallels from Russian history: there have been many good reform plans, but often they weren't carried out, the conservative forces were too strong, and the problems sometimes nearly insurmountable. Sometimes, as in 1914, Russia's neigbours too had become nervous of its growing potential and tried to obstruct its development. Even with non-peaceful means... It would be a disaster if America or Europe would try to do the same again.

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