So Putin is safely back as the president, despite the growing unrest and protest.
The streets around the Kremlin seemed like a ghost town, as Putin sailed along in his black Mercedes. Both protesters and supporters were cleared away by riot police and streets were closed off. The mood was sombre and tense.
What can we say about Medvedev and his time as president? Well, Medvedev didn’t have the easiest of jobs. Firstly, everybody expected him to be merely Putin’s poodle, and although he played this job well, he did seem to make a few strangely independent decisions. He reduced the number of time zones across the country, got rid of summertime and renamed the militsia to police.
He was also unlucky in gaining the presidency just as the whole world was sliding into a financial crisis.
Despite all this, I think he did a good steady job. Putin was still really in charge the whole time though.
Russia’s economy continues to grow (apart from a blip in 2008-9) and the Rouble remains stable. Average Russian salaries have risen sharply over the last decade, especially in comparison to other countries. In my opinion, the most important point is that disposable income has rocketed for many Russians.
Graduate from a Russian university this year and apart from the fact that you almost certainly won’t have massive debts hanging over your head, you will also have a decent chance of finding a job in your field.
Compare this to the spectacular unemployment seen in Europe, and particularly Spain, where recent figures show 50% youth unemployment.
Russia is far from perfect, or democratic, but for many people the rise in living standards and disposable income out weighs the need for change.