Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, September 26, 2011

The answer is: Putin

In case you, like me, were offline this weekend, you probably learned this morning that the suspense in the Russian presidential race is over. Will the election hold enough interest to get people to vote?

It's interesting that the New York Times reporters linked Putin to both Soviet and Tsarist predecessors.

Putin Once More Moves to Assume Top Job in Russia
Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, who transformed post-Soviet Russia by imposing Kremlin control over most aspects of public life, moved on Saturday to return to the presidency and could remain until 2024, giving him a rule comparable in length with that of Brezhnev or Stalin.

President Dmitri A. Medvedev announced at a party convention in Moscow that he would step aside for Mr. Putin, who served as president from 2000 to 2008 but was limited by the Constitution to two consecutive terms. Mr. Medvedev is to take his place as prime minister after presidential elections in March that Mr. Putin is assured of winning…

There is little evidence that the change will portend dramatic policy shifts.

Mr. Medvedev has called for political and judicial reforms that would decentralize power away from the Kremlin, and his rhetoric won him the backing of many in the West and in progressive circles. But he was widely viewed as a weak executive whose initiatives were subject to veto by Mr. Putin. Mr. Putin, meanwhile, has signaled in recent months that he may restyle himself as an economic reformer, wrapping himself in the mantle of the tsarist Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin…

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