The end of Putin (again)?
Since Putin returned to the
presidency in 2012, ‘Putinology’ has dominated the
mainstream Western discussion about Russia. It has become the central
pillar of what appears as a form of ‘neo-Kremlinology’, as
observers seek to interpret subtle and often ambiguous indications of
the relative influence of those who are close to Putin and thus on
Federalism under Putin
In August 1991 Yeltsin created two new administrative bodies to keep the
regions in check: presidential representatives and regional governors.
Between 1991 and 1996 Yeltsin was able to maintain control over the governors through his powers of appointment. However, once Yeltsin relinquished these powers and governors were able to come to power via the
ballot box (see chapter 6), he was forced to turn to his presidential representatives to win back control of the regions.
As we noted in chapter 3 one
(finally) of the urban middle class
as a revitalising force in Russian political life after the
‘de-democratisation’ of Vladimir Putin’s second
term as president and the disappointments of Dmitri Medvedev’s
term. The almost unanimous enthusiasm the protests generated in the
mainstream Western discussion led to the emergence of an expert
orthodoxy that they represented the beginning of the end of the Putin
Since the early 2000s, Russia’s most innovative theatre artists have increasingly
taken to incorporating material from real-life events into their performance
practice. As the Kremlin’s crackdown on freedom of expression continues to
tighten, playwrights and directors are using documentary theatre to create space
for public discussion of injustice in the civic sphere and its connections to
the country’s twentieth-century past. This book traces the history of
documentary theatre’s remarkable growth in Russia since its inception in 1999
and situates the form’s impact within the sociopolitical setting of the Putin
years (2000–). It argues that through the practice of performing documents,
Russia’s theatre artists are creating a new type of cultural and historical
archive that challenges the dominance of state-sponsored media and invites
individuals to participate in a collective renegotiation of cultural narratives.
Drawing on the author’s previous work as a researcher, producer, and performer
of documentary theatre in contemporary Russia, Witness Onstage offers original
insight into the nature of the exchange between audience and performance as well
as new perspectives on the efficacy of theatre as a venue for civic
injecting a large dose of liberalism into their
outlook’ ( Barry, 1990 : 11). When faced with
Trump, Xi Jinping, Orban, Erdogan, Putin, Assad, Duterte, non-liberals all, how can the argument
for neutrality be successful? They see opponents not as legitimate competitors protected by a
set of institutional rules that limit the scope of conflict but as threats to be eliminated.
Chantal Mouffe differentiates ‘the political’ from ‘politics’: the
political is the sphere of existential conflict over the nature of the state where the most
President Vladimir Putin oversees extensive, precise, disruptive fake-information
campaigns that are designed to cause confusion ( Paul
& Matthews, 2016 ). At Russia’s ‘Internet Research Agency’,
hundreds of employees write content for false blogs and social media accounts. These are then
mobilised to create disinformation campaigns about issues ranging from the conflicts in Syria
and the Ukraine to an invented explosion at a chemical plant in Centerville, Louisiana ( Chen, 2015 ). MIT media researcher Ethan Zuckerman calls this
This book shows the impact of twenty-first-century security concerns on the way Russia is ruled. It demonstrates how President Vladimir Putin has wrestled with terrorism, immigration, media freedom, religious pluralism, and economic globalism, and argues that fears of a return to old-style authoritarianism oversimplify the complex context of contemporary Russia. Since the early 1990s, Russia has been repeatedly analysed in terms of whether it is becoming a democracy or not. This book instead focuses on the internal security issues common to many states in the early twenty-first century, and places them in the particular context of Russia, the world's largest country, still dealing with its legacy of communism and authoritarianism. Detailed analysis of the place of security in Russia's political discourse and policy making reveals nuances often missing from overarching assessments of Russia today. To characterise the Putin regime as the ‘KGB-resurgent’ is to miss vital continuities, contexts, and on-going political conflicts that make up the contemporary Russian scene. The book draws together current debates about whether Russia is a ‘normal’ country developing its own democratic and market structures, or a nascent authoritarian regime returning to the past. Drawing on extensive interviews and Russian source material, it argues that the growing security factor in Russia's domestic politics is neither ubiquitous nor unchallenged. It must be understood in the context of Russia's immediate history and the growing domestic security concerns of many states the world over.
Under Vladimir Putin, the Russian leadership has consistently sought to shape a strategic agenda. This book discusses the strategy planning process and the legislative and policy architecture that has taken shape. It explores the nature of the agenda itself, particularly Putin's May Edicts of 2012, which set out Moscow's core strategic agenda. The book examines the questions raised by the numerous problems in planning and the extent to which they undermine the idea of Russian grand strategy. It explores what the Russian leadership means by a 'unified action programme', its emphasis on military modernisation, problems that Russian observers emphasise, strategy undermining, and the relation of mobilisation with the Russian grand strategy. The book argues that Russian strategy is less to be found in Moscow's plans, and more in the so-called vertical of power. The broader picture of Russian grand strategy, and the leadership's ability to implement those plans, is examined. The book discusses patriotic mass mobilisation often referred to as the 'Crimea effect', and the role of the All Russian Popular Front in the implementation of the leadership's plans, especially the May Edicts. It talks about the ongoing debate in the Russian armed forces. Finally, some points regarding Russian grand strategy are discussed.
This book focuses on the Western difficulties in interpreting Russia. It begins with by reflecting on some of the problems that are set in the foundations of Russia's post-Cold War relationship with the West. The book points to problems that emerge from linguistic and historical 'interpretation'. It looks at the impact of Russia's decline as a political priority for the West since the end of the Cold War and the practical impact this has had. It then reflects on the rising influence, especially, but not only, in public policy and media circles, of 'transitionology' as the main lens through which developments in Russia were interpreted. The book then examines the evolution of the West's relationship with Russia since the end of the Cold War, focusing particularly on the NATO-Russia relationship. It focuses on the chronological development of relations and the emergence of strategic dissonance from 2003. The book also looks at Russian domestic politics, particularly the Western belief in and search for a particular kind of change in Russia, a transition to democracy. It continues the exploration of domestic politics, but turns to address the theme of 'Putinology', the focus on Putin as the central figure in Russian politics.