Putin's Russia / Edition 1

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Overview

On December 31, 1999, ailing political maverick Boris Yeltsin abruptly handed the country's leadership over to the virtually unknown former intelligence officer Vladimir Putin. The new Kremlin boss represented both continuity and change. While he was linked with the past, he also signified a sharp break from it.

With Putin's ascendancy to power, Russian leadership and Russia have changed dramatically. A pragmatic manager, Putin has tamed the Russian elite and arrogant tycoons, pushed forward economic reforms previously stalled under Yeltsin, and instituted a pro-Western foreign policy. He has accomplished all of this while maintaining an astonishing 70 percent approval rating.

However, Russia's transformation under Putin remains a paradox. Outwardly he has proved his desire to modernize Russia, but he has also demonstrated a deep distrust of major democratic institutions and an open desire to keep tight control over society.

In Putin's Russia, Lilia Shevtsova, one of Russia's top political analysts and award-winning journalists, examines how, under Putin, the country vacillates between optimism and anguish, hope and resentment. She examines the true nature of Putin's leadership and how far he is willing and capable to go with further transformation. Time will tell if he can combine his authoritarian ways with economic liberalism and pro-Western policy to define the Russia of the twenty-first century.

On December 31, 1999, ailing political maverick Boris Yeltsin abruptly handed the country's leadership over to the virtually unknown former intelligence officer Vladimir Putin. The new Kremlin boss represented both continuity and change. While he was linked with the past, he also signified a sharp break from it.

With Putin's ascendancy to power, Russian leadership and Russia have changed dramatically. A pragmatic manager, Putin has tamed the Russian elite and arrogant tycoons, pushed forward economic reforms previously stalled under Yeltsin, and instituted a pro-Western foreign policy. He has accomplished all of this while maintaining an astonishing 70 percent approval rating.

However, Russia's transformation under Putin remains a paradox. Outwardly he has proved his desire to modernize Russia, but he has also demonstrated a deep distrust of major democratic institutions and an open desire to keep tight control over society.

In Putin_s Russia, Lilia Shevtsova, one of Russia's top political analysts and award-winning journalists, examines how, under Putin, the country vacillates between optimism and anguish, hope and resentment. She examines the true nature of Putin_s leadership and how far he is willing and capable to go with further transformation. Time will tell if he can combine his authoritarian ways with economic liberalism and pro-Western policy to define the Russia of the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Putin's Russia, by Lilia Shevtsova, is a timely, expert book. She calls her chronological, unsystematic approach "a political diary" for "an unfinished story," but her narrative and personal example testify to an already well-advanced Russian transformation. — Stephen Kotkin
Foreign Affairs
Whatever the oxymoron used to describe it — "managed democracy" (Putin's favorite), "electoral monarchy," or "totalitarianism in a pluralistic society" — Putin has managed to create it, Shevtsova contends. And at its core is the "authoritarian presidency." With typical subtlety, however, she does not make Russia's recidivism out to be one man's handiwork. Rather, Putin is as much an echo of the elite's emptiness and small-mindedness, the public's mix of yearning and apathy, and the system's lack of fundamental and institutional sinews as he is a transcendent force. This is Shevtsova's most Russian work, argued with scarcely subdued passion and the feel of someone caught up in these tides. Out of her blunt, often acerbic, account comes shrewd insights into Putin's transformation from an implausible, contrived successor into a dominator unchallenged by oligarchs, legislators, or regional bosses, let alone a democratic opposition. Her study is not of Russian political life writ large, but of Russian leadership and the politics that swirl around and emanate from it.
Library Journal
One of Russia's leading political analysts, Shevtsova (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Yeltsin's Russia: Myths and Reality) has written an intriguing study of Vladimir Putin's rise to and consolidation of power in Russia. At first, as Shevtsova fiercely castigates the elites, oligarchs, Yeltsin hangers-on, society at large, and Putin himself, one suspects that she has an ax to grind; but in subsequent passages she explains or excuses their actions. Ultimately, Shevtsova has crafted an insightful, well-documented discussion of one of the world's big questions: What kind of a player will Russia turn out to be when it grows up? "The outcome will depend not only on the internal struggle between the conservatives and pro-Western modernizers. It will also depend on the debate with the Western community-the United States and Europe-on the future world order and its new threats and challenges." Of the three or four books published about Putin in the last two years, Richard Rose and Neil Munro's Elections Without Order: Russia's Challenge to Vladimir Putin comes the closest to Shevtsova's treatment of Putin's ruling style and explanation of the evolution of Russian democracy, though Shevtsova's book is more focused on Putin himself. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870032134
  • Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lilia Shevtsova co-chairs the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, dividing her time between the Carnegie office in Washington, D.C. and the Carnegie Moscow Center. She is author of Putin's Russia (2005) and Yeltsin's Russia: Myths and Reality (1999), and coeditor (with Archie Brown) of Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Putin: Political Leadership in Russia's Transition (2001), all published by the Carnegie Endowment.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Ch. 1 The Kremlin's power play 7
Ch. 2 The end of the Yeltsin era 44
Ch. 3 Putin, the new Russian leader 69
Ch. 4 The moment of truth 104
Ch. 5 Power in one fist 134
Ch. 6 Russia tranquillized 163
Ch. 7 The long-awaited breakthrough 187
Ch. 8 The Kremlin's ambiguity 221
Ch. 9 Russia goes through new elections 259
Ch. 10 Russia has a new president - again Putin 294
Ch. 11 From oligarchic authoritarianism to bureaucratic authoritarianism 322
Ch. 12 New agenda and new disappointments 352
Ch. 13 Russia's unfinished story 396
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