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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Putin's Selection Of

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PP RUEHFK
DE RUEHKO #5505 3450643
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110643Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0183
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA// PRIORITY
RUHBANB/OKINAWA FLD OFC US FORCES JAPAN CP BUTLER JA PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/USFJ PRIORITY
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 4881
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 8547
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0564
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2007
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 6604
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7354
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 005505

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR I/RF, PA/PR/FPC/W, IIP/G/EA, EAP/PD, R/MR,
EAP/J, EAP/P, PM;
USTR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
TREASURY FOR OASIA/IMI;
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA;
CP BUTLER OKINAWA FOR AREA FIELD OFFICE;
PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO JA
SUBJECT: TOKYO MEDIA REACTION - PUTIN'S SELECTION OF
SUCCESSOR


LEAD STORIES: All Tuesday morning papers front-paged
the decision by Russian President Putin to support the
candidacy of First Deputy Prime Minister Medvedev in
the presidential election in March that will choose his
successor.

1. "With Few Enemies, Medvedev Seen as Harmless Figure"
The liberal Asahi wrote from Moscow (12/11): "In view
of the deepening rivalry among political players over
who will succeed President Putin, Medvedev is seen as
an innocuous politician who has few enemies. In
addition, Putin appeared to choose Medvedev for his
relatively liberal ideology. Putin apparently kept in
mind Moscow's ties with the U.S. and Europe, which have
been aggravated over his strong-armed political style,
including his one-sided support for his ruling United
Russian Party in the recent Duma elections."

2. "Putin Picks Moderate to Play up Soft Line with
West" A Moscow-based reporter for the business-oriented
Nikkei noted (12/11): "Putin decided to back the
candidacy of his close ally Medvedev in order to
continue his rein. By choosing a moderate with a legal
background as his successor, Putin hopes to leave the
impression that Russia is attentive to international
cooperation. Domestically, Putin, with the selection of
Medvedev, is attempting to check the rise of
hardliners, including former KGB officials, and is keen
to wield influence over his successor by providing
backing in the form of popular support."

3. "Medvedev Promotes Strong-Armed Resource Diplomacy"
The liberal Mainichi's Moscow correspondent Sugio wrote
(12/11): "When he was at the presidential office,
initially as the first deputy secretary and then as the
secretary, Medvedev was mostly removed from public

SIPDIS
exposure and was known as a key Putin aide behind the
scenes. While he has been categorized as belonging to
the 'liberal camp' among Putin's senior deputies,
Medvedev as the chairman of Gazprom is in fact an
ardent supporter of the president's strong-armed
natural resource diplomacy."

4. "Putin Control to Continue" The top-circulation,
moderate Yomiuri reported from Moscow (12/11): "Putin
selected Medvedev because he has personal trust that
the deputy minister will faithfully continue his 'pro-
growth, strong Russia' policy. While hoping to continue
wielding political influence, Putin apparently sees
Medvedev as a 'figure of convenience' who would not
pose an obstacle to his possible return as president
someday."

SCHIEFFER

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