Interview With Medvedev: Russian President Reflects On Fall of the Wall

Medvedev: The investigators are absolutely convinced that their interpretation of events is correct and that they have done everything possible to clear up this crime. The case will go to court again. This is common in criminal proceedings. It does not mean that no investigation took place. The court merely found the arguments of the defense more convincing. That is its right. It is simply not true when you say that the case was not investigated.

SPIEGEL: Let us repeat it once again: There has not been a single final conviction in connection with the many spectacular murders that been committed recently.

Medvedev: Give me other cases. Nullum crimen sine lege, no crime without a law: I can only comment on concrete cases.

SPIEGEL: What about journalist Anastasia Baburova, who was shot and killed in January together with human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov on the streets of Moscow? Or human rights activist Natalya Estemirova, who was abducted in July in Chechnya, and executed the very same day with a number of shots to the head?

Medvedev: Investigations are ongoing in the case of Estemirova. The investigation of the murders of Markelov and Baburova has led to the arrest of two suspects.

SPIEGEL: And the elections in October? In a number of Moscow districts, by the end of the election day, voter turnout had shot up to 90 percent, which is significantly higher than the average for Moscow.

Medvedev: In my view, the elections were conducted in an orderly fashion, which doesn't mean that they were perfect. In Moscow and other cities there were numerous complaints. I have spoken with the heads of the parties. We have agreed that all complaints shall be handled in court. But it is important that all parliamentary parties agree that the final result of the elections accurately reflects, in an overall sense, the balance of power in the country. All the parliamentary groups have suggested that election procedures be improved. I will reflect on this and submit my proposals for improving the electoral system in a message to the nation in the near future.

Trading Gas and Oil is Our Drug

SPIEGEL: That may be encouraging, but we are more concerned about a climate in which officials find it necessary to give election results a helping hand in the first place. We are thinking primarily of the results of the ruling party, United Russia.

Medvedev: It is the leading political force in our country, but it was also dissatisfied with the results on a number of counts. When an official, out of sympathy for a political party, attempts to help it during elections, he is committing a crime, which is punishable according to our penal code. I think that a number of the proceedings currently being launched by the parties will result in administrative or judicial convictions.

SPIEGEL: In a recent article that you wrote entitled "Go, Russia," you spoke of your country's "humiliating" economic "backwardness." Why hasn't Russia managed to overcome its dependency on natural resources in the time since the end of the Soviet Union?

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