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Grigory Yavlinsky on President Putin’s two years of office

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The main achievement of President Putin is foreign policy aimed at a rapprochement with the West. This policy was chosen by the President despite the resistance of the political elite and his circle. The vector of foreign policy can have strategic prospects and become a prologue to Russia’s transformation into a European state in the broad sense of the word – from observation of human rights to the level of the population’s welfare.

However, a serious movement towards Europe is only possible provided that Russia’s steps in foreign policy are accompanied by really profound changes in its domestic policy. Such changes have not been undertaken, apart from some steps in the economy. Problems that have accumulated over the past ten years have not been resolved, but have been postponed and are consequently aggravating.

The construction of a manageable democracy under cover of pseudo-democratic institutions and procedures that have been turned into a pure formality does not and cannot resolve any of these problems. This also refers to the deplorable state of our judicial system which still implements orders from the top. We don’t have any division of powers – all the power is accumulated in the Kremlin. The government is a purely technical institution: it represents mainly the interests of the monopolies and big business connected with the authorities. The failure of the federative reform in building a “vertical of power” is obvious: the Federation Council has become absolutely disabled and representatives of the President in the federal districts can hardly be called political figures of significance in some regions. The use of dirty technologies employing courts, prosecutor’s offices and law-enforcement agencies has become common practice at regional elections. Governors and presidents [of republics] loyal to the Kremlin are allowed not only to continue with arbitrary rule, but even be elected for a third term.

Daily people are dying in Chechnya – both Russian soldiers and civilians, every day legal arbitrary rule is being exercised there.

Clearly President’s foreign policy leads Russia forwards; whereas corrupt Russian bureaucracy leads it backwards. This cannot last long. In the 21st century Russia’s position and probably even its existence will depend on which side wins.

Nonetheless after two years of office Vladimir Putin has retained the support of 60% of the citizens. This is a clear political achievement that allows him to do everything necessary for the country.

See also:

Understanding Russia
Telvision - Yes, Yes, No, Yes

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