Russia saw a blossoming of public activism and rallies in the 1990s, breaking with a harsh tradition of Tsarist and then communist rule. Rights groups argue those freedoms of speech, the media and fair elections have now been stripped away.
"It looks cool," Medvedev said of Speakers' Corner, set at the edge of Hyde Park in the centre of London. "I need to speak with the Russian authorities and build our very own Hyde Park."
The jury is still out on whether these types of moves are an indication of his more progressive leanings or whether he's just playing "good cop" to Putin's bad in a "managed democracy"? Or a bit of both.
-- Luke Allnutt