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By John Helmer, Moscow

On April 25, President Dmitry Medvedev appeared for an interview on the Moscow internet television channel Dozhd (“Rain”). According to the chief interviewer, Natalya Sindeyeva, the advance work by the president’s staff did not include either request or discussion of what questions the president would be asked. Perhaps there should have been, for Medvedev was asked what he would do after the election. Here is how he replied:

“I don’t know what I will do. I tell you honestly. But I am sure I’ll find myself a job, and an interesting one. In addition to the large number of hobbies that everyone has, I will, of course, have a job, that is mandatory. When all this state part of the career is over, I would like, in fact, to have an active life. The new technologies, including those I see here, I like them very much. Hence, there is no doubt about Skolkovo. If by that time everything will be working fine, I would like to do teaching there. I would like to do it not only in Skolkovo, but also in other places because, I believe, for any politician who used to head a state, this is simply a must that he necessarily tells about some of his experience – both negative and positive. That he does so in his own country and elsewhere.”

That is a verbatim excerpt of Medvedev’s response to the election question. Dozhd was the source for this excerpt). The full version of the interview was also posted on the Dozhd channel website). The Kremlin website has published Russian-language and English versions as well.

Comparing the video record with the transcripts and the translations, it is clear the Russian text corresponds with the video record. But the English version appears to have missed one sentence, when Medvedev was asked about life after the presidency, and comparison was made with Boris Yeltsin:

Russian: Что я буду делать – я не знаю, честно вам скажу. Но я уверен, что работу я себе найду, причем работу интересную.
Official English: As for my own plans, to be honest, I am sure that I will be able to find interesting work to do.
Correct English: I don’t know what I will do. I tell you honestly. But I am sure I’ll find myself a job, and an interesting one.

Here is the official Kremlin version of this part of the interview, with the edited version marked out in bold:

MIKHAIL ZYGAR: Mr President, we have very little time left, but our viewers would not forgive us if we fail to ask you the question that everyone is waiting for us to put. It’s an obvious question, about the 2012 election, because the election concerns business’ future too, and the people behind the startups are also building their plans around future prospects. Of course, we realise that a clear answer to this question is unlikely…
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: … unlikely to be forthcoming right now.
MIKHAIL ZYGAR: Yes, you probably won’t give us a clear answer.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: You just never know. Go ahead with your question and we’ll see.
MIKHAIL ZYGAR: Let me reformulate it a little. Sooner or later, we all know that you leave the president’s job, whether in 2012, or in 2018.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Yes, you can bet on this 100 percent.
MIKHAIL ZYGAR: Have you thought about what you would like to do after this, perhaps go into innovative business of some kind, or stay in government work?
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Mikhail, that’s an excellent question you’ve asked. People always ask me if I am going to run for office again or not, and if not, then what role do I see for myself in government or civil service? But no one asks the more human question of what kind of future role do I see for myself in general, and what I would like to do after my time in my current job.
Of course, it’s not the easiest thing to find a new role and start a new life after this job.
MIKHAIL ZYGAR: It’s possible to imagine Bush or Obama after leaving office, but it’s practically impossible to picture Medvedev or Putin after leaving power.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Yes, all the more so that earlier periods showed us time and again that life in the good sense ends when someone leaves power here. Probably the only exception in this respect was Boris Yeltsin.
REMARK: But he was 70, and so he retired.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Yes, he was already not a young man, true, but it seems to me he lived an interesting life after leaving office, travelled a lot, read books, and in this sense he was lucky.
As for my own plans, to be honest, I am sure that I will be able to find interesting work to do, aside from the various hobbies that I, like so many others, have, and which I will also continue to pursue too, of course.
Overall, when this part of my career ends, when this time of state office ends, I want my life to remain active. I’m extremely interested in all kinds of new technology, including what I see here at your company. I don’t know, perhaps…
NATALIA SINDEYEVA: Maybe teaching?
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Yes, absolutely right. At Skolkovo anyway, that’s for sure. If everything is up and working there normally by that time, I would like to teach there, and at other places too, because it seems to me that for any politician who has been at the head of the country this is simply a must, simply a duty to share his experience, both positive and negative, with others at home and abroad. This is something that can be useful to many, many people.
NATALIA SINDEYEVA: Of course you are to share this kind of experience.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Yes, this is certainly something interesting.
Also, coming back to new technology, in the future I would like to take part, through Skolkovo Innovation Centre and other institutes, in the work to promote and develop these technologies, I don’t know in what exact capacity yet, as a business angel, or as one of the people helping to develop Skolkovo, but this is certainly something of real interest.
I’d also like to get involved in the media, if I can, because it’s an interesting area too. By that time, your own TV business will have grown, and you can invite me to come and comment on all the big political news.

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