Russia’s strongman, Vladimir Putin, came to power with perhaps one goal – “Restore Russia to “glory”! Putin is nostalgic of the Stalinist years – that Russia was glorious for Putin. In June 2019, Putin made headlines with an interview in Financial Times (FT) during which he said that liberalism was now obsolete, BBC reported: he said Liberal ideas about refugees, migration and LGBT issues were now opposed by “the overwhelming majority of the population”.
Putin has set about undermining democracy in Russia since 2000. He has implemented a system of politics, tagged “Putinism” characterized by the concentration of political and financial powers in the hands of “siloviks” – members of the armed and security forces. To achieve his aims, he has set about undermining freedoms in neighbouring States.
He might be bad, the argument goes, but Russian trains run on time and with the travails facing liberal democracies, the canny operator in the Kremlin triumphs over the west as he is doing in the Middle East, resetting the geopolitical map. Putin, by comparison with so many western leaders, has been a huge success. Really? asks [Victor Sebestyen] in a Financial Times review of Kremlin Winter: Russia and the Second Coming of Vladimir Putin, by Robert Service:
It takes the biographer of Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky and Tsar Nicholas II to offer a broader perspective and place Putin in the great sweep of Russian history, where judgment will surely be less kind to the man who has ruled Russia since the first day of the 21st century (and counting). ….Putin’s “success” is how he retains and exercises power — Russia’s eternal question, as Lenin framed it: “Who, whom?” (Who has power, and for whom?) This is where Service, Britain’s foremost historian of modern Russia, is at his most acute. He describes with telling detail how Putin turned a one-party state into a one-clique state. The president’s former KGB cronies, the siloviki, run the bureaucracy and the oligarchs who stole the Russian state in the most epic example of grand larceny in history support him. Service fills in plenty of new material about how the kleptocrats around Putin have made his family vastly rich.
Read the article from Democracy Digest through this link.