Russia’s Medvedev defends erosion of his legacy

MOSCOW — Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday defended the enactment of new laws that rolled back his own liberal agenda as Russia’s previous president, a tacit admission of how little influence he has now that Vladimir Putin is back in the Kremlin.

In an interview with reporters from five Russian television stations, Medvedev said he was ‘‘basically happy with how my life has gone’’ during the past year, despite seeing the Kremlin abandon his conciliatory, modernization-focused platform in favor of a crackdown on dissent.


As soon as Putin returned for a third presidential term in May, Parliament began passing a series of draconian laws — introducing Internet censorship, hiking fines for unauthorized protests, and recriminalizing slander, which had been made an administrative offense on Medvedev’s initiative only months before.

Other laws branded nongovernmental organizations with foreign funding as ‘‘foreign agents’’ and expanded the definition of treason to include potentially any exchange of information with foreign organizations.

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The language used in the laws recalls Soviet-era spy mania, when the vast majority of foreigners were treated and viewed with suspicion. Putin blamed foreign governments, especially the US State Department, of meddling in domestic affairs and protests.

On Friday, Medvedev denied the laws were repressive and said the issue was simply one of expectations. ‘‘These expectations very often have nothing whatsoever to do with what’s really happening in the country,’’ he added.

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