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The Fall and Fall of Dmitry Medvedev

How the former Russian president went from geeky technocrat to deranged war hawk.

By , a national security and intelligence reporter at Foreign Policy.

Threats of fire and brimstone have become the norm from senior Russian officials and hosts on Russian state television. But even by these standards, the remarks from the once mild-mannered Medvedev have raised eyebrows. The former president’s descent into a barely intelligible rage against the Western machine mirrors Russia’s broader shift from annoying neighbor to an existential threat to Europe—and maybe worse.

“It’s one of the [bigger] intrigues of current domestic policy,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian political analyst and founder of the R.Politik consultancy. Cognizant of circling hawks, Medvedev’s outbursts are likely an attempt to curry favor in Russia’s new political climate, which has become markedly more nationalist and intolerant of dissent since the invasion of Ukraine in February.

“Russia has changed. And Medvedev has to show that he belongs to this Russia,” Stanovaya said.

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