Russia: Putin's power plays

The new president is moving swiftly to put his own stamp on the power structures of Russia. But he is dealing with an age old problem and there is no guarantee that those at a local level will cooperate. In any event, it is much easier to destroy authority than to create it. President Vladimir Putin’s second week in office confirmed once and for all that Russia’s media and political class regard him as little less than a political wonder-worker. Their reaction to his assault on regional power was astonishing in its credulity.

The World Today Updated 30 June 2022 Published 1 July 2000 6 minute READ

Dr William Tompson

Former Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme

Within days of the appearance of his first decree on the subject, journalists and politicians – and some western news outlets – were speaking of the transformation of the Russian Federation into a unitary state. The demise of gubernatorial power was treated as an accomplished fact even before the president had unveiled his legislative proposals.

The press described Putin’s emerging new order as a highly centralised state, dominated by an expanded presidential administration – working closely with the security services – a reinvigorated federal government and a network of new governors-general drawn largely from the military and the security organs.

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