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One Thing Putin Or Medvedev Can't Control

Stock markets don't like strong men. Markets don't have party affiliation and they don't give an oath of allegiance to presidents or prime ministers. You can't censor them; you can't even control them, even if you are as powerful as the Russian president or prime minister.

It was President Dmitry Medvedev who caught a dose of that on November 5, when he delivered a speech, proposing to extend the presidential term from four to six years, which was interpreted by foreign analysts as a preparation for Putin's return with an extended presidential term, and to deploy missiles in the Kaliningrad region. (Watch our video briefing on the subject.)

Before his speech on November 5, the Russian stock market index RTS was up sharply. But as Medvedev started talking tough, it went down -- in fact by the end of the speech it had fallen by 5.6 percent.

The Russian stock market lost billions of dollars well before the financial crisis, after foreign investors pulled out after Russia's August war with Georgia. The RTS decline intensified with the beginning of global financial crisis.

Just goes to show that the stock market is one thing neither the president or prime minister can control -- unlike, for instance, the media.

-- Harry Tamrazian

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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