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Tag: Vladimir Putin

History as a battleground: What’s next in Russia’s constitutional reform?

Earlier this year, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin proposed a range of sweeping constitutional changes to ensure a favourable power transition scenario for the country’s leadership. The reform would also allow Kremlin-linked historians and policy advisers to introduce an alternative, politically advantageous narrative of the Second World War, as the past takes on increased significance in legitimising the regime.

February 18, 2020 - Anastasiia Starchenko

Putin has done nothing to deserve an extended hand from the West

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov visited Washington, DC last December for a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a visit to the Oval Office with President Donald Trump. This was Lavrov’s second such visit during the Trump administration; his first visit occurred in May 2017, when pictures emerged of him, Trump, and then-Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, yucking it up in the White House the day after Trump fired the head of the FBI, James Comey.

January 28, 2020 - David J. Kramer

New dark times. A warning against the spread of Putinism

A review of Putin’s Totalitarian Democracy: Ideology, Myth, and Violence in the Twenty-First Century. By: Kate Langdon and Vladimir Tismaneanu. Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Switzerland, 2019.

January 27, 2020 - Ostap Kushnir

Vladimir Putin. What’s left to say?

A review of We need to talk about Putin. How the West gets him wrong. By: Mark Galeotti. Publisher: Penguin Random House, United Kingdom, 2019.

May 2, 2019 - Adam Reichardt

Forgetting Chechnya

Review of Irena Brežná's "She-Wolves from Sernovodsk: Notes from the Russo-Chechen War" and Polina Zherebtsova's "Ant in a Glass Jar: Chechen Diaries, 1994–2004".

July 10, 2018 - Tomasz Kamusella

From Putin’s Russia to a non-Putin’s Russia

An interview with Gleb Pavlovsky, a Russian political scientist. Interviewer: Maxim Rust

MAXIM RUST: In your social media posts and comments you often use the hashtag #sistemaRF (system of the Russian Federation). What is this system like today and what is its essence?

GLEB PAVLOVSKY: I use this concept because I wrote several articles where I describe the regime in Russia which does not fit classical categories as a political system or a state. These are disputable issues indeed. What is the Russian regime like, what kind of state is Russia, etc.? The regime is bad but that does not mean anything, because if we make comparisons between today’s Russia and other systems, it means we put Russia in a certain order which may mean that we will lose the key to understanding its essence. This essence is what I am searching for. That is why I use this hashtag to describe the Russian system as a unique aggregation of behaviour and power norms. This system is exceptionally flexible, which is important.

April 26, 2018 - Maxim Rust

Witnessing another Putin victory

The results of the March presidential election in Russia have come as no surprise. Yet, the election victory of Vladimir Putin was not his only success. The high voter turnout, together with a low level of voting irregularities in comparison with previous elections, indicate that Putin’s system has not lost the people’s hearts and minds.

I arrived in Moscow a few days ahead of the 2018 presidential election. The weather was cold and the city was plastered with flyers and banners reminding Muscovites of the upcoming election – in which the outcome was all but certain. On every street corner, young Russians were handing out refrigerator magnets and balloons with similar reminders. They are reluctant to talk about their political preferences, but they do not have to. In the end, what the authorities are aiming for is a strong voter turnout.

April 26, 2018 - Wiktoria Bieliaszyn

Is Vladimir Putin pro-American?

The re-election of Vladimir Putin as president of the Russian Federation in March has been negatively reported in the United States. Yet, what many forget is that Putin can be seen as the most pro-American leader in Russian history. This is not an ironic statement. In the last 18 years, Putin has done more for the US and NATO than any other Russian politician or leader.

April 10, 2018 - Yury Lobunov

How to clean up Russian politics

The reality of a one-person autocracy - like in Russia - is that there is no alternative political activity, besides an armed attempt at overthrow, in which the citizens can engage. But to participate in any public political act, in the eyes of those who do not understand, is to cooperate with the regime. But what other choice Russians have?

April 4, 2018 - Vitali Shkliarov

Russian election results reflect a crisis of liberal opposition

Interview with Yevgeny Minchenko, a political strategist, founder and chairman of Minchenko Consulting. Interviewer: Paulina Siegień.

March 21, 2018 - Paulina Siegień

A Tale of Two Putins

Having turned the law into an instrument of state policy and private vendetta and having turned the legislature into a caricature without power of independence, can Vladimir Putin afford to become an ex-president? Conventional wisdom would say that he cannot. Without being at the top of the system, he is at best vulnerable and at worst dead, and he knows it.

In March Vladimir Putin will, it is safe to predict, win re-election. The real questions relate to what happens after the election, with some predicting a thaw, while others expect even more authoritarian policies. Will Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev be replaced? Will there be renewed overtures to the West? In many ways, though, this may betray our own biases, as Kremlinologists from democratic nations naturally assume that an election represents a boundary point from one state to another. Yet in a system such as Putin’s, sometimes described as a managed democracy, it is much more clearly managed than democratic. Indeed, of late it has come to feel as if the Kremlin regards the various trappings of democracy – not just elections but also press conferences, legislative sessions and consultations – as an increasingly irritating burden.

February 26, 2018 - Mark Galeotti

To challenge Putin’s regime

The Kremlin has nothing to offer Russian citizens except stability without economic growth and no clear perspective. This will eventually bring down Vladimir Putin’s regime. The opposition, however, is not yet fully ready to take power when that happens.

“Yes, Putin has many shortcomings, but there is no alternative to him.” I have heard this phrase in Russia countless times, from shopkeepers and artists, to professors of physics and retirees. I read it in Russian (mostly) state-controlled media. Nevertheless, I am surprised every time I hear it. “Well, of course not,” I usually reply. “After all, Putin takes all necessary steps so that no alternative will arise.” It is the main goal that the giant state propaganda machine, special services, heads of Russian regions and ordinary officials pursue 24 hours a day. Nineteen years after Vladimir Putin was first elected as president, the argument that there is no alternative illustrates only one thing: the absence of democracy in Russia. For many years, the country has been stuck with an authoritarian regime that has all but eliminated political competition and blocked any attempts to change the system. This is the regime’s strength as well as its weakness. Using an expression coined by leading Russian political analyst Lilia Shevtsova, the increasingly authoritarian regime needs a democratic form of legitimisation – this is the main political contradiction of the current regime in Moscow.

February 26, 2018 - Konstantin Eggert

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