Russian diplomats did not veto the authorization of force resolution when it came before the Security Council because "I do not consider this resolution to be wrong," he added.
Those two sharply divergent foreign policy views – one bristling with suspicion toward the West, the other frankly identifying Russia's interests with it – have long been on display in Moscow. But never before have Medvedev and Putin so clearly moved into separate corners in what looks like the prelude to a real fight, analysts say.
"What has happened here is the first real clash within the tandem since Medvedev came into the Kremlin," says Pavel Salin, an expert with the independent Center for Political Assessments in Moscow. "In the past they seemed to be working well together and playing to separate audiences. Medvedev appealed to liberals and Putin to more conservative voters, and it was seen as a kind of 'good cop-bad cop' thing."
But the issue of Libya, a client state of the former USSR, appears to have brought on a real split, he says. "Putin, given his past [KGB] experience, is inclined to a conspiratorial view and his remarks had a certain anti-American spin. Medvedev, on the other hand, does not think in cold war terms. He would like to see Russia on good terms with everybody and perhaps play the role of an intermediary in this situation," he says.