Politics and the ruling group in Putins Russia

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The president has the prerogatives of scheduling referendums a power previously reserved to the parliament , submitting draft laws to the State Duma, and promulgating federal laws. The executive-legislative crisis of the fall of prompted Yeltsin to emplace constitutional obstacles to legislative removal of the president.

Under the constitution, if the president commits "grave crimes" or treason, the State Duma may file impeachment charges with the parliament's upper house, the Federation Council. These charges must be confirmed by a ruling of the Supreme Court that the president's actions constitute a crime and by a ruling of the Constitutional Court that proper procedures in filing charges have been followed. The charges then must be adopted by a special commission of the State Duma and confirmed by at least two-thirds of State Duma deputies.

A two-thirds vote of the Federation Council is required for removal of the president. If the Federation Council does not act within three months, the charges are dropped. If the president is removed from office or becomes unable to exercise power because of serious illness, the prime minister is to temporarily assume the president's duties; a presidential election then must be held within three months.

The constitution does not provide for a vice president, and there is no specific procedure for determining whether the president is able to carry out his duties. The president is empowered to appoint the prime minister to chair the Government called the cabinet or the council of ministers in other countries , with the consent of the State Duma.

The president chairs meetings of the Government, which he also may dismiss in its entirety. Upon the advice of the prime minister, the president can appoint or remove Government members, including the deputy prime ministers. In addition, the president submits candidates to the Federation Council for appointment as justices of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Superior Court of Arbitration, as well as candidates for the office of procurator general, Russia's chief law enforcement officer.

The president also appoints justices of federal district courts. Many of the president's powers are related to the incumbent's undisputed leeway in forming an administration and hiring staff. The presidential administration is composed of several competing, overlapping, and vaguely delineated hierarchies that historically have resisted efforts at consolidation. In early , Russian sources reported the size of the presidential apparatus in Moscow and the localities at more than 75, people, most of them employees of state-owned enterprises directly under presidential control.

Former first deputy prime minister Anatoly Chubais was appointed chief of the presidential administration chief of staff in July Yegorov had been appointed in early , when Yeltsin reacted to the strong showing of antireform factions in the legislative election by purging reformers from his administration. Yeltsin now ordered Chubais, who had been included in that purge, to reduce the size of the administration and the number of departments overseeing the functions of the ministerial apparatus. The six administrative departments in existence at that time dealt with citizens' rights, domestic and foreign policy, state and legal matters, personnel, analysis, and oversight, and Chubais inherited a staff estimated at 2, employees.

Chubais also received control over a presidential advisory group with input on the economy, national security, and other matters. Reportedly that group had competed with Korzhakov's security service for influence in the Yeltsin administration. Another center of power in the presidential administration is the Security Council, which was created by statute in mid The constitution describes the council as formed and headed by the president and governed by statute. Since its formation, it apparently has gradually lost influence in competition with other power centers in the presidential administration.

However, the June appointment of former army general and presidential candidate Alexander Lebed to head the Security Council improved prospects for the organization's standing. In July , a presidential decree assigned the Security Council a wide variety of new missions. The decree's description of the Security Council's consultative functions was especially vague and wide-ranging, although it positioned the head of the Security Council directly subordinate to the president. As had been the case previously, the Security Council was required to hold meetings at least once a month.

Other presidential support services include the Control Directorate in charge of investigating official corruption , the Administrative Affairs Directorate, the Presidential Press Service, and the Protocol Directorate. The Administrative Affairs Directorate controls state dachas , sanatoriums, automobiles, office buildings, and other perquisites of high office for the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, a function that includes management of more than state industries with about 50, employees.

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Keywords: lawyers ; Russia ; courts ; civil society. If you do not have a login you can register here. In the city of Ryazan, for example, FSB officers were apprehended by their local colleagues as suspects in the bombings. Putin's role in this system remains the same — that of an arbiter and moderator. He has stated his intention to place the United Russia Duma faction, which Volodin believes is firmly in his pocket, under party control. Putin, still prime minister but about to become president again, said on Russian TV that the white ribbons worn by protesters made him think of condoms.

The Committee on Operational Questions, until June chaired by antireformist Oleg Soskovets , has been described as a "government within a government". Also attached to the presidency are more than two dozen consultative commissions and extrabudgetary "funds".

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The president also has extensive powers over military policy. As the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation , the president approves defense doctrine, appoints and removes the high command of the armed forces, and confers higher military ranks and awards. The president is empowered to declare national or regional states of martial law , as well as state of emergency.

In both cases, both houses of the parliament must be notified immediately. The Federation Council, the upper house , has the power to confirm or reject such a decree. The regime of martial law is defined by federal law "On Martial law", signed into law by president Vladimir Putin in The circumstances and procedures for the president to declare a state of emergency are more specifically outlined in federal law than in the constitution. In practice, the Constitutional Court ruled in that the president has wide leeway in responding to crises within Russia, such as lawlessness in the separatist Republic of Chechnya , and that Yeltsin's action in Chechnya did not require a formal declaration of a state of emergency.

In Yeltsin declared a state of emergency in Ingushetia and North Ossetia , two republics beset by intermittent ethnic conflict. The constitution sets few requirements for presidential elections, deferring in many matters to other provisions established by law. The presidential term is set at six years, and the president may only serve two consecutive terms. A candidate for president must be a citizen of Russia, at least 35 years of age, and a resident of the country for at least ten years.

If a president becomes unable to continue in office because of health problems, resignation, impeachment, or death, a presidential election is to be held not more than three months later. In such a situation, the Federation Council is empowered to set the election date. The Law on Presidential Elections , ratified in May , establishes the legal basis for presidential elections. The law, which set rigorous standards for fair campaign and election procedures, was hailed by international analysts as a major step toward democratization.

Under the law, parties, blocs, and voters' groups register with the Central Electoral Commission of Russia CEC and designate their candidates. The purpose of the 7 percent requirement is to promote candidacies with broad territorial bases and eliminate those supported by only one city or ethnic enclave. The law required that at least 50 percent of eligible voters participate in order for a presidential election to be valid. In State Duma debate over the legislation, some deputies had advocated a minimum of 25 percent which was later incorporated into the electoral law covering the State Duma , warning that many Russians were disillusioned with voting and would not turn out.

To make voter participation more appealing, the law required one voting precinct for approximately every 3, voters, with voting allowed until late at night. The conditions for absentee voting were eased, and portable ballot boxes were to be made available on demand. Strict requirements were established for the presence of election observers, including emissaries from all participating parties, blocs, and groups, at polling places and local electoral commissions to guard against tampering and to ensure proper tabulation. The Law on Presidential Elections requires that the winner receive more than 50 percent of the votes cast.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote a highly probable result because of multiple candidacies , the top two vote-getters must face each other in a runoff election.

Where’s Putin? President’s party pulls election disappearing act

Once the results of the first round are known, the runoff election must be held within fifteen days. A traditional provision allows voters to check off "none of the above," meaning that a candidate in a two-person runoff might win without attaining a majority. Another provision of the election law empowers the CEC to request that the Supreme Court ban a candidate from the election if that candidate advocates a violent transformation of the constitutional order or the integrity of the Russian Federation.

The presidential election of was a major episode in the struggle between Yeltsin and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation KPRF , which sought to oust Yeltsin from office and return to power. Yeltsin had banned the Communist Party of the Russian Republic for its central role in the August coup against the Gorbachev government.

As a member of the Politburo and the Secretariat of the banned party, Gennady Zyuganov had worked hard to gain its relegalization. Yeltsin temporarily banned the party again in October for its role in the Supreme Soviet's just-concluded attempt to overthrow his administration. After the KPRF's triumph in the December legislative elections, Yeltsin announced that he would run for reelection with the main purpose of safeguarding Russia from a communist restoration.

Although there was speculation that losing parties in the December election might choose not to nominate presidential candidates, in fact dozens of citizens both prominent and obscure announced their candidacies. After the gathering and review of signature lists, the CEC validated eleven candidates, one of whom later dropped out.

In the opinion polls of early , Yeltsin trailed far behind most of the other candidates; his popularity rating was below 10 percent for a prolonged period. However, a last-minute, intense campaign featuring heavy television exposure, speeches throughout Russia promising increased state expenditures for a wide variety of interest groups, and campaign-sponsored concerts boosted Yeltsin to a 3 percent plurality over Zyuganov in the first round.

The election campaign was largely sponsored by wealthy tycoons, for whom Yeltsin remaining at power was the key to protect their property acquired during the reforms of After the first election round, Yeltsin took the tactically significant step of appointing first-round presidential candidate Aleksandr Lebed, who had placed third behind Yeltsin and Zyuganov, as head of the Security Council. Yeltsin followed the appointment of Lebed as the president's top adviser on national security by dismissing several top hard-line members of his entourage who were widely blamed for human rights violations in Chechnya and other mistakes.

Despite his virtual disappearance from public view for health reasons shortly thereafter, Yeltsin was able to sustain his central message that Russia should move forward rather than return to its communist past.

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  • INTRODUCTION.

Zyuganov failed to mount an energetic or convincing second campaign, and three weeks after the first phase of the election, Yeltsin easily defeated his opponent, 54 percent to 40 percent. It was argued Yeltsin won the Russian presidential election thanks to the extensive assistance provided by the team of media and PR experts from the United States. They also detailed the extent of their collaboration with the Clinton White House.

Turnout in the first round was high, with about 70 percent of Total turnout in the second round was nearly the same as in the first round. A contingent of almost 1, international observers judged the election to be largely fair and democratic, as did the CEC. Most observers in Russia and elsewhere concurred that the election boosted democratization in Russia, and many asserted that reforms in Russia had become irreversible.

Yeltsin had strengthened the institution of regularly contested elections when he rejected calls by business organizations and other groups and some of his own officials to cancel or postpone the balloting because of the threat of violence. The high turnout indicated that voters had confidence that their ballots would count, and the election went forward without incident. The democratization process also was bolstered by Yeltsin's willingness to change key personnel and policies in response to public protests and by his unprecedented series of personal campaign appearances throughout Russia.

The constitution prescribes that the Government of Russia, which corresponds to the Western cabinet structure, consist of a prime minister chairman of the Government , deputy prime ministers, and federal ministers and their ministries and departments. Within one week of appointment by the president and approval by the State Duma, the prime minister must submit to the president nominations for all subordinate Government positions, including deputy prime ministers and federal ministers.

The prime minister carries out administration in line with the constitution and laws and presidential decrees. The ministries of the Government, which numbered 24 in mid, execute credit and monetary policies and defense, foreign policy , and state security functions; ensure the rule of law and respect for human and civil rights; protect property; and take measures against crime. If the Government issues implementing decrees and directives that are at odds with legislation or presidential decrees, the president may rescind them.

The Government formulates the federal budget , submits it to the State Duma, and issues a report on its implementation. In late , the parliament successfully demanded that the Government begin submitting quarterly reports on budget expenditures and adhere to other guidelines on budgetary matters, although the parliament's budgetary powers are limited. If the State Duma rejects a draft budget from the Government, the budget is submitted to a conciliation commission including members from both branches. Besides the ministries, in the executive branch included eleven state committees and 46 state services and agencies, ranging from the State Space Agency Glavkosmos to the State Committee for Statistics Goskomstat.

There were also myriad agencies, boards, centers, councils, commissions, and committees. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's personal staff was reported to number about 2, in Chernomyrdin, who had been appointed prime minister in late to appease antireform factions, established a generally smooth working relationship with Yeltsin. Chernomyrdin proved adept at conciliating hostile domestic factions and at presenting a positive image of Russia in negotiations with other nations.

However, as Yeltsin's standing with public opinion plummeted in , Chernomyrdin became one of many Government officials who received public blame from the president for failures in the Yeltsin administration. As part of his presidential campaign, Yeltsin threatened to replace the Chernomyrdin Government if it failed to address pressing social welfare problems in Russia. After the mid presidential election, however, Yeltsin announced that he would nominate Chernomyrdin to head the new Government.

The member parliament, termed the Federal Assembly , consists of two houses , the member State Duma the lower house and the member Federation Council the upper house. Russia's legislative body was established by the constitution approved in the December referendum. The first elections to the Federal Assembly were held at the same time—a procedure criticized by some Russians as indicative of Yeltsin's lack of respect for constitutional niceties.

Under the constitution, the deputies elected in December were termed "transitional" because they were to serve only a two-year term. In April , legislators, Government officials, and many prominent businesspeople and religious leaders signed a "Civic Accord" proposed by Yeltsin, pledging during the two-year "transition period" to refrain from violence, calls for early presidential or legislative elections, and attempts to amend the constitution. This accord, and memories of the violent confrontation of the previous parliament with Government forces, had some effect in softening political rhetoric during the next two years.

The first legislative elections under the new constitution included a few irregularities. The republics of Tatarstan and Chechnya and Chelyabinsk Oblast boycotted the voting; this action, along with other discrepancies, resulted in the election of only members to the Federation Council. However, by mid all seats were filled except those of Chechnya, which continued to proclaim its independence. All federal jurisdictions participated in the December legislative elections, although the fairness of voting in Chechnya was compromised by the ongoing conflict there.

The Federal Assembly is prescribed as a permanently functioning body, meaning that it is in continuous session except for a regular break between the spring and fall sessions. This working schedule distinguishes the new parliament from Soviet-era "rubber-stamp" legislative bodies, which met only a few days each year. The new constitution also directs that the two houses meet separately in sessions open to the public, although joint meetings are held for important speeches by the president or foreign leaders. Deputies of the State Duma work full-time on their legislative duties; they are not allowed to serve simultaneously in local legislatures or hold Government positions.

A transitional clause in the constitution, however, allowed deputies elected in December to retain their Government employment, a provision that allowed many officials of the Yeltsin administration to serve in the parliament. After the December legislative elections, nineteen Government officials were forced to resign their offices in order to take up their legislative duties.

Politics of Russia

Despite its "transitional" nature, the Federal Assembly of approved about pieces of legislation in two years. When the new parliament convened in January , deputies were provided with a catalog of these laws and were directed to work in their assigned committees to fill gaps in existing legislation as well as to draft new laws. A major accomplishment of the legislative sessions was passage of the first two parts of a new civil code , desperately needed to update antiquated Soviet-era provisions.

The new code included provisions on contract obligations, rents , insurance , loans and credit , partnership, and trusteeship , as well as other legal standards essential to support the creation of a market economy. Work on several bills that had been in committee or in floor debate in the previous legislature resumed in the new body.

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There is little consensus about the nature of the political system that has emerged during the Putin presidency. This collection considers the issues arising in this. Politics and the Ruling. Group in Putin's Russia. Edited by. Stephen White. Professor of International Politics. University of Glasgow, UK.

Similarly, several bills that Yeltsin had vetoed were taken up again by the new legislature. The composition of the Federation Council was a matter of debate until shortly before the elections. The legislation that emerged in December over Federation Council objections clarified the constitution's language on the subject by providing ex officio council seats to the heads of local legislatures and administrations in each of the eighty-nine subnational jurisdictions, hence a total of seats.

As composed in , the Federation Council included about fifty chief executives of subnational jurisdictions who had been appointed to their posts by Yeltsin during , then won popular election directly to the body in December But the law of provided for popular elections of chief executives in all subnational jurisdictions, including those still governed by presidential appointees. The individuals chosen in those elections then would assume ex officio seats in the Federation Council.

Each house elects a chairman to control the internal procedures of the house. The houses also form Parliamentary committees and commissions to deal with particular types of issues. Unlike committees and commissions in previous Russian and Soviet parliaments, those operating under the constitution have significant responsibilities in devising legislation and conducting oversight. They prepare and evaluate draft laws, report on draft laws to their houses, conduct hearings, and oversee implementation of the laws. As of early , there were twenty-eight committees and several ad hoc commissions in the State Duma, and twelve committees and two commissions in the Federation Council.

The Federation Council has established fewer committees because of the part-time status of its members, who also hold political office in the subnational jurisdictions. In most of the committees in both houses were retained in basic form from the previous parliament. According to internal procedure, no deputy may sit on more than one committee.

By many State Duma committees had established subcommittees. Committee positions are allocated when new parliaments are seated. The general policy calls for allocation of committee chairmanships and memberships among parties and factions roughly in proportion to the size of their representation. In , however, Vladimir Zhirinovsky 's Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Liberal'no-demokraticheskaya partiya Rossii—LDPR , which had won the second largest number of seats in the recent election, was denied all but one key chairmanship, that of the State Duma's Committee on Geopolitics.

The two chambers of the Federal Assembly possess different powers and responsibilities, with the State Duma the more powerful. The Federation Council, as its name and composition implies, deals primarily with issues of concern to the subnational jurisdictions, such as adjustments to internal borders and decrees of the president establishing martial law or states of emergency. As the upper chamber, it also has responsibilities in confirming and removing the procurator general and confirming justices of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Superior Court of Arbitration, upon the recommendation of the president.

The Federation Council also is entrusted with the final decision if the State Duma recommends removing the president from office. The constitution also directs that the Federation Council examine bills passed by the lower chamber dealing with budgetary , tax , and other fiscal measures, as well as issues dealing with war and peace and with treaty ratification. In the consideration and disposition of most legislative matters, however, the Federation Council has less power than the State Duma.

All bills, even those proposed by the Federation Council, must first be considered by the State Duma. If the Federation Council rejects a bill passed by the State Duma, the two chambers may form a conciliation commission to work out a compromise version of the legislation. The State Duma then votes on the compromise bill. If the State Duma objects to the proposals of the upper chamber in the conciliation process, it may vote by a two-thirds majority to send its version to the president for signature. Because the Federation Council initially included many regional administrators appointed by Yeltsin, that body often supported the president and objected to bills approved by the State Duma, which had more anti-Yeltsin deputies.

The power of the upper house to consider bills passed by the lower chamber resulted in its disapproval of about one-half of such bills, necessitating concessions by the State Duma or votes to override upper-chamber objections. In February , the heads of the two chambers pledged to try to break this habit, but wrangling appeared to intensify in the months that followed.

The State Duma confirms the appointment of the prime minister , although it does not have the power to confirm Government ministers. The power to confirm or reject the prime minister is severely limited. According to the constitution, the State Duma must decide within one week to confirm or reject a candidate once the president has placed that person's name in nomination. If it rejects three candidates, the president is empowered to appoint a prime minister, dissolve the parliament, and schedule new legislative elections.

The State Duma's power to force the resignation of the Government also is severely limited. It may express a vote of no-confidence in the Government by a majority vote of all members of the State Duma, but the president is allowed to disregard this vote. If, however, the State Duma repeats the no-confidence vote within three months, the president may dismiss the Government. But the likelihood of a second no-confidence vote is virtually precluded by the constitutional provision allowing the president to dissolve the State Duma rather than the Government in such a situation.

The Government's position is further buttressed by another constitutional provision that allows the Government at any time to demand a vote of confidence from the State Duma; refusal is grounds for the president to dissolve the Duma. The legislative process [4] in Russia includes three hearings in the State Duma, then approvals by the Federation Council , the upper house and sign into law by the President.

Draft laws may originate in either legislative chamber, or they may be submitted by the president, the Government, local legislatures and the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, or the Superior Court of Arbitration within their respective competences. Draft laws are first considered in the State Duma. Upon adoption by a majority of the full State Duma membership, a draft law is considered by the Federation Council, which has fourteen days to place the bill on its calendar. Conciliation commissions are the prescribed procedure to work out differences in bills considered by both chambers.

A constitutional provision dictating that draft laws dealing with revenues and expenditures may be considered "only when the Government's findings are known" substantially limits the Federal Assembly's control of state finances. However, the legislature may alter finance legislation submitted by the Government at a later time, a power that provides a degree of traditional legislative control over the purse.

Inside the Kremlin’s hall of mirrors | Peter Pomerantsev

The two chambers of the legislature also have the power to override a presidential veto of legislation. The constitution requires at least a two-thirds vote of the total number of members of both chambers. The district courts are the primary criminal trial courts , and the regional courts are the primary appellate courts. Putin casually accepted that there had been fraud; Medvedev helpfully added that all Russian elections had been fraudulent.

A claim to power was staked: he who fakes wins. If Putin came to the office of president in as a mysterious hero from the realm of fiction, he returned in as the vengeful destroyer of the rule of law. His accession to the office of president in was, therefore, the beginning of a succession crisis.

How Putin Is Transforming Russia

Since the man in power was also the man who had eliminated the future, the present had to be eternal. In and , the Kremlin had used Chechens as the necessary enemy. After the fakery of and , the domestic political emergency was permanent, and so the enemy had to be as well. Some intractable foreign foe had to be linked to protesters, so that they, rather than Putin himself, could be portrayed as the danger to Russian statehood.

The politics of eternity requires and produces problems that are insoluble because they are fictional. Those who wished to have votes counted in the elections of and were not Russian citizens who wanted to see the law followed, their wishes respected, or their state to endure. They were mindless agents of global sexual decadence whose actions threatened the innocent national organism. Putin, still prime minister but about to become president again, said on Russian TV that the white ribbons worn by protesters made him think of condoms. Then he compared protesters to monkeys and did a monkey imitation.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov began to claim that the Russian government had to take a stand against homosexuality to defend the innocence of Russian society.

Alex Gusev

A confidant of Putin, Vladimir Yakunin, developed the sheep image into a theory of geopolitics. This global group had released homosexual propaganda around the world in order to reduce birth rates in Russia and thereby preserve the power of the west. In September , a Russian diplomat repeated this argument at a conference on human rights in China. Gay rights were nothing more than the chosen weapon of a global neoliberal conspiracy, meant to prepare virtuous, traditional societies such as Russia and China for exploitation. President Putin took the next step at his personal global summit at Valdai a few days later, comparing same-sex partnerships to Satanism.

Human sexuality is an inexhaustible raw material for the manufacture of anxiety. The attempt to place heterosexuality within Russia and homosexuality beyond was factually ludicrous, but the facts were beside the point.

The “ Putin transit" and Russia's political future - Atlantic Community

Russia had to be innocent, and all problems had to be the responsibility of others. The campaign did not depend on a factual demonstration of the heterosexuality of the Russian elite. In the previous four years, when Putin had been prime minister, his propaganda master Vladislav Surkov had placed him in a series of fur-and-feathers photo shoots.

Putin divorced his wife just as his anti-gay campaign began, leaving the champion of family values without a traditional family. In , it became a criminal offence to portray Putin as a gay clown. Putin was offering masculinity as an argument against democracy. It is normal, Weber observed, to form a political and commercial clan around a charismatic leader. But if that man wishes to go beyond redistributing the plunder and planning the next raid, he must find a way to transfer his authority to someone else, ideally by a means that will allow it to be transferred again.

Solving this problem of succession is the precondition of establishing a modern state. Weber defined two mechanisms that would allow a burst of charisma to become durable institutions: through custom, as in a monarchy where the eldest son succeeded the father; or through law, as in a democracy, where regular voting allows parliaments and rulers to be replaced. Putin did not seem to be planning a monarchical succession. He has kept his daughters at a distance from public politics although the family did benefit from crony capitalism.

The logical possibility that remains is thus law, which in the modern world usually means democracy. Putin himself dismissed this alternative. Evidence was not provided, but that was not the point. Indeed, it was best not to speak of actual threats, since discussing actual enemies would reveal actual weaknesses and suggest the fallibility of aspiring dictators.

The west was chosen as an enemy precisely because it represented no threat to Russia. Unlike China, the EU had no army and no long border with Russia. The US did have an army, but had withdrawn the vast majority of its troops from the European continent: from about , in to about 60, in Nato still existed, and had admitted former communist countries of eastern Europe. But Barack Obama had cancelled an American plan to build a missile defence system in eastern Europe in , and in Russia was allowing American planes to fly through Russian airspace to supply US forces in Afghanistan.

No Russian leader feared a Nato invasion in or , or even pretended to. Almost no one in the American public or media was paying attention to Moscow. Russia did not even figure in American public opinion polls about global threats and challenges. In winter and spring , Russian television channels and newspapers generated the narrative that all who protested electoral fraud were paid by western institutions. The association between opposition and treason was axiomatic, the only question that of the appropriate punishment.

Precisely because Putin had made the Russian state vulnerable, he had to claim that it was his opponents who had done so. After , there was no sense in imagining a worse Russia in the past and a better Russia in the future, mediated by a reforming government in the present. Putin had reduced Russian statehood to his oligarchical clan and its moment. The only way to head off a vision of future collapse was to describe democracy as an immediate and permanent threat.

Having transformed the future into an abyss, Putin had to make flailing at its edge look like judo. In , Putin made it clear that he understood democracy as ritualised support for his person. Libel was made a criminal offence. A law that banned insults to religious sensitivities made the police the enforcer of an Orthodox public sphere. The authority and budget of the FSB were increased, and its officers granted broad authority to shoot without warning. The definition of treason was expanded to include the provision of information to nongovernmental organisations beyond Russia, which made telling the truth over email a high crime.

One target was Memorial, a storehouse of materials on the history of Russia in the 20th century. Memorial had documented the suffering of Soviet citizens, including Russians, during the Stalinist period. The politics of eternity destroys history. No doubt the Russian state can still be maintained, for a time, by elective emergency and selective war. The very anxiety created by the lack of a succession principle can be projected abroad, creating real hostility and thus starting the whole process anew.

In , Russia began to seduce or bully its European neighbours into abandoning their own institutions and histories. Learn Judo With Putin.

Putin Shoots Tiger with Tranquilizer. In the video, which was shot by an unknown videographer and released onto YouTube without attribution, Putin sits in the center of the room joking and signing books. There is general merriment—several including Medvedev appear to be the worse for wear. Zyuganov is on the TV in the background complaining about the need for investigation of fraud.

No one pays the slightest attention.