July 01, 2011

Potyomkin Press Conference



THE SLICK WHITE folder was festooned with the red, white and blue of the Russian flag and banded with the words, “Press Conference of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.” Inside, a nice pen bore a similar insignia, as did a four-gigabyte flash drive.

“This is it,” I thought.

It was an unprecedented event for Medvedev, who invited over 800 journalists to “the” press-conference of his presidency. That it was being held less than one year before Russia’s 2012 presidential election had set reporters abuzz. Correspondents from top global media outlets down to municipal papers from Yakutia all pondered as one: What could he possibly have to say? Is Russia on the brink of major reforms? Will he dissolve the cabinet? Will he announce his presidential bid and confront his mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin?


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