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The Nature of Putin’s Statism


Traditional Role of the State

  • the state represented the highest aspiration of the society for survival in conditions of adversity, most recently tested in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
  • at the same time the state represented the greatest danger to society itself, as evidenced in the Stalinist purges and the Brezhnevite suffocation of civil society

Models of State Reformation under Putin (Richard Sakwa)

Highslide JS

Arguments in Favour of “Pluralistic” Statism

  • Putin’s commitment to the maintenance of the principles of the existing constitution
  • the attempt to establish the uniform application of constitutional and other legal norms across Russia in a uniform and homogeneous way
  • Putin’s statism represented an advance for democracy in the sense that the application of the law would be uniform for all, including regional bosses, oligarchs, and the presidency itself
  • a strong state should be rooted in a liberal economic order and a vibrant civil society
  • his statism is a normative (that is, legal and constitutional) reconstitution of state power
  • Putin’s departure in 2008 according to the constitution represented a major advance for democracy

Arguments in Favour of “Compacted” Statism

  • the selective approach to the abuses of the Yel’tsin era
  • the weak commitment to media freedom and human rights
  • the dependence of the presidential regime on ‘power structures’: the bureaucracy, the security apparatus and official state parties
  • a new type of hegemonic party system is being established based on a neo-nomenklatura class of state officials (members of “United Russia”)
  • the development of a personalised regime
  • the presidency failed to encourage the development of a genuine rule of law
  • the political regime was not rendered adequately accountable to the representative system (political parties and legislative assemblies)
  • all this points to a less benign form of statism: the ‘reconcentration’ of the state
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The Putinite Order

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Russian Federalism
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Paradoxes of Russian Mentality
Economy under Putin
The Putinite Order
Putin's Choice
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