Russian leaders’ cockfight tarnishes Fischer visit

More than 100 entrepreneurs are accompanying Austrian President Heinz Fischer on his state visit to Russia as firms hope to benefit from the prospering economy of the Eurasian country.Fischer, who met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev yesterday (Thurs), was welcomed by the country’s Prime Minister and ex-President Vladimir Putin today. The talks were overshadowed by ongoing speculations about whether the Russian leaders dare a face-off in next year’s presidential election.Analysts are at odds over whether Putin only installed Medvedev as his successor to give the country a more liberal image in the world while he keeps pulling the strings in the background. Some spectators of what has been branded a political cockfight believe that Medvedev will reach for power and stand for a second term regardless of his mentor’s plans.Asked whether he will visit Vienna in the role of Russian president next year, Medvedev said yesterday: “You may hope that I will.”Fischer – who will return to Austria tomorrow after a visit to the Republic of Tartastan – added that Medvedev will be welcome in the Austrian capital regardless of his future political position.A delegation of 140 businesspeople has travelled to Moscow with Fischer to strengthen the economic ties between Austria and Russia. Analysts see great potential for Austrian technology and infrastructural knowledge in Russia which is reasserting itself over forecasts of further economic growth.Several Austrian companies such as building firm Strabag SE and cable car world market leader Doppelmayr have bagged orders in the past years, many of them for projects in Sochi where the next Winter Olympic Games will take place in 2014.Non-government organisations (NGO) in Russia and all over the world deplore the dismal situation in the economically powerful country as far as human rights and democracy are concerned. Studies also show that a large number of citizens are living in acute poverty.