Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What's a Putin to do?

This analysis of Russian politics comes from Nick Hayes, a professor of history (especially Russian) who holds the university chair in critical thinking at Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn.

Putin’s cruel politics behind the ban on Russian adoptions
Despite Vladimir Putin’s victory in the presidential election last year, long-promised and delayed reforms of education, social welfare, health care, infrastructure investment and taxation have gone nowhere. Meanwhile, the Russian parliament is working on legislation that would ban blasphemy, the use of foreign words and phrases in the Russian language, and “homosexual propaganda” from the press.

It is the season of non-issues in Russian politics…

[Putin's] decision to embrace the ban on U.S. adoptions underscores his political vulnerability. Ever since his announcement in fall 2011 that he would run for a third presidential term and basically dump the erstwhile President Dmitry Medvedev and his liberal entourage, Putin has turned to the hard-line Russian right for his base of support…

The controversy over adoption plays out in the nationalist angst in Russia over its demographic decline. Life expectancy rates remain at Third World levels. Russia reached below-zero birth rates decades ago…

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