In a recent interview to the French news agency AFP and the newspaper Le Figaro, Russian Prime Minister and former President Dmitri Medvedev made two remarks that one doesn’t often hear from political figures.
The first remark was a nod to an ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus who famously said that one could not enter the same river twice. Asked whether he would consider running for president again, Medvedev used his humanities credentials to make a political point, saying: “Generally, one should never decline anything. Never say never, as you know, especially since I have entered this river already and this is a river that can be entered twice.”
The second remark blew my mind. Asked whether certain new laws had restricted freedom, Medvedev said: "I do not think that is so.” Then he asked: “What does a ‘free person’ mean,” It’s not a person who is told by his government, 'You are free.' No, a person is free when he feels free irrespective of his place of residence – whether it be Russia, Europe or Africa."
The French interviewer thought this meant that ‘freedom is only measured individually’. I take it to mean that Medvedev is one of the few politicians who understands that freedom is something we carry inside, for, contrary to the freedom to act, it cannot be limited by others.
In my next blog I will comment on a recent NY Times article on Putin’s search for a new ideology.