Newly Assertive Medvedev Takes Swipe at Putin

Russian president, once seen as a puppet, castigates his mentor
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2009 8:21 AM CST
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ski at a slope outside the Black Sea resort of Sochi, southern Russia, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009.   (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)
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(Newser) – Dmitry Medvedev publicly rebuked the government of Vladimir Putin yesterday for its handling of the country's severe economic crisis, in yet another sign that the Russian president is becoming increasingly independent. At a factory outside Moscow, Medvedev said the rescue was moving "more slowly than the current situation demands." It's yet another sign of assertiveness from Medvedev, who once seemed happy to play second fiddle to Putin.

Medvedev's earlier attempts to assert power were thwarted by Putin allies who remain inside the Kremlin, the Financial Times reports. But in comments last month that were interpreted as a signal to Putin, Medvedev insisted that he, and not Putin, was Russia's supreme leader. "The final responsibility for what happens in the country and for the important decisions taken," he said, "rest on my shoulders alone."