Critics of the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev often assert that his "well-intended rhetoric" doesn't match his deeds. Unfortunately, the president's critics are largely mum on the question of which specific actions Medvedev should take to meet their expectations. I therefore decided to compose a partial, albeit invariably subjective, list of Medvedev's "matching deeds" that should please Russian "democrats" and "liberals."
1. Fire Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
1.1 Adopt a law establishing Putin's mandatory retirement age at 57.
1.2 Ban Putin from accepting any state or corporate job for the rest of his life.
1.3 Ban the expression "Don't hold your breath" from contemporary Russian language.
2. Appoint Mikhail Kasyanov the Prime Minister of Russia.
2.1 Increase the percentage of commission Kasyanov is allowed to take from 2% to 3%.
2.2 Update Kasyanov's nickname from "Misha 2 percent" to "Misha 3 percent."
3. Appoint Garry Kasparov co-President of Russia.
4. Appoint Vladimir Bukovsky co-President of Russia.
5. Appoint Boris Nemtsov mayor of Sochi.
6. Disband the United Russia political party.
6.1 Ban members of United Russia from participating in political activities for the rest of their lives.
7. Register the Solidarnost movement as political party.
7.1 Amend the Constitution by establishing the Solidarnost party as являющейся руководящей и направляющей силой российского общества, ядром его политической системы, государственных и общественных организаций (the leading and driving force of the Russian society, the center of its political system and the state and civil institutions).
9. Charge Eduard Limonov with writing new lyrics for the Russian anthem.
10. Demolish the Kurskaya subway station.
11. Cap the price of Russian oil at $26 per barrel. (A disclaimer: full credit for this idea goes to Vladimir Ryzhkov, who reportedly promised to former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney that the price of Russian oil will never exceed $26 per barrel should Ryzhkov become the President of Russia).
12. Order "an impartial trial" of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. (A disclaimer: full credit for this idea goes to Ariel Cohen; see his testimony before Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on "Prospects for Engagement with Russia" on March 19, 2009. The emphasis here is on "order": this is how Cohen understands the independence of judicial system in Russia).
Given the time of the year, I don't mind Russian "democrats" and "liberal" using the above as a Santa Claus wish list. Nor would I mind President Medvedev using the list as his New Year resolutions.
Happy Holiday Season, everyone!