Russia: Medvedev gives Putin subtle insult


Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits the Pacific port of Vladivostok, on July 2, 2012.



In a public speech, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has offered "rare criticism" of President Vladimir Putin, Reuters reported. Medvedev's criticisms, in exact words, were: "I think that in modern Russia, if we talk about business, unequivocal orders are being made in different ways, let's say, in proposals to send a doctor in for a cure," Medvedev said today. "Russian business knows what I mean... I wish we (would) start learning to live in a different way." Oh no he didn't!

While perhaps a little confusing and passive-aggressive, the comments are a subtle insult to Putin. The back story is that in 2008, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made some controversial remarks at an industry meeting, Bloomberg News reported. Igor Zyuzin, the billionaire owner of a coal company, couldn't attend the meting because he was sick. In response, Putin said that he hoped Zyuzin would get well soon, “otherwise, we’ll need to send him a doctor and clean up all these problems.” Those comments came to be known as one of Putin's harshest attacks on a powerful business figure, Reuters reported.  

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Medvedev's more recent speech appears to be referencing those Putin remarks, and is just the latest subtle sign of a growing rift between the two leaders. According to the Moscow Times, Medvedev also recently defended the Cabinet's budget plan, even though Putin has disapproved of it. "When I worked as president, I never liked [the budget] either," Medvedev said during a regular Cabinet session, the Times reported. "But I always remembered and realized how difficult it was to glue together a budget, especially in the conditions of a crisis or in a post-crisis or pre-crisis situation."

Earlier this month, Medvedev also voiced support for Pussy Riot, arguing that the prison sentences given to the group members were "counterproductive." Pussy Riot is known for its songs with strong anti-Putin messages, though Putin has denied being involved with their case.