Medvedev and Putin
are disciples and admirers of Anatoliy Sobchak
and both commemorated the tenth anniversary of his
death on Saturday. Medvedev, who knew him as one of his
students and later worked with him in St Petersburg, gave praise to "the man who first brought legitimacy to Soviet politics".
In an interview for a program on his
life and work, Putin
paid very high tribute to him.
He described how he began working for him when he was Mayor of St Petersburg, how he quit the KGB in the August 1991 coup attempt ("I wrote a letter of resignation in the first hours after the coup began… The point is that I had made my choice and I could not change it.
It was my duty to be there, defending our shared ideals and the concept of national development which Mr Sobchak
and I had put into words and implemented together.") and how much he
learned from him in work habits and morality: "The time when I worked with Mr Sobchak
was the most valuable part of my education.
It was in that period that my basic principles of work and communication took shape.
The fundamentals of my personal principles and behaviour probably began to develop much earlier, at home
and later at the university, where I studied and he
However, my work with him had tremendous practical significance for me".
So we have both the present and previous Presidents telling us that they regard Sobchak
as their mentor and example and regard their times working under him as formative.
Perhaps, the Kommentariat should pay more attention to this relationship and less to the lazy assumption that all we need to know is that Putin
was a KGB officer and Medvedev is his
sock puppet .