1993 a new constitution approved


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1993 a new constitution approved

  • 1993 a new constitution approved

  • New parliament (the “Duma”), half from party lists, half from single member constituencies

  • Powers of President strengthened

  • President appoints Prime Minister, cabinet

  • “Russia Votes” – analysis of Russian voting patterns

  • 1996 Eltsin makes a comeback as President from certain defeat with the money of Boris Berezovsky

  • Eltsin dances during campaign

  • November 1996 – bypass operation



1996 reelected on second round against Gennady Ziuganov (Communist)

  • 1996 reelected on second round against Gennady Ziuganov (Communist)

  • 1996 Alexander Lebed signs peace deal with Chechen leaders

  • Rotating prime ministers

  • Communists control Duma: block reforms

  • Rich oligarchs control Kremlin (Berezovsky, Gusinsky, Khodorkovsky, Potanin, Smolensky)

  • Eltsin’s image as a drunken buffoon



  • Leader: Gennady Ziuganov (b. 1944)

  • Share of vote to Duma:

  • 1993 11.6 %

  • 1995 22.3% (34 % of seats in Duma)

  • 1999 24.3%



Right-wing nationalist party

  • Right-wing nationalist party

  • Leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky (b. 1946)

  • Popular intemperate buffoon.

  • Took votes away from Communists

  • Zhirinovsky in European Parliament



  • Yabloko – Led by Grigory Yavlinsky (right)

  • Democratic Party of Russia

  • In 1993 get about 10 % of the vote



Throughout the Eltsin era – Moscow is the centre of Russia, sucking the resources out of the rest of the country.

  • Throughout the Eltsin era – Moscow is the centre of Russia, sucking the resources out of the rest of the country.

  • Moscow becomes symbol of Russian identity.

  • Yury Luzhkov, Mayor of Moscow, masterminds Moscow’s evolution.

  • 2010 Medvedev fires Luzhkov for corruption.



Late 1990s – oil prices collapse

  • Late 1990s – oil prices collapse

  • 1998 the Default: Russia defaults on GKOs (government bonds)

  • Ruble goes from 6 to the $ to 18, then 30.

  • Huge budget deficits

  • Unpaid salaries and pensions

  • Inflation and financial instability; banks collapse

  • Crippling taxes on small business

  • Flight of capital offshore

  • Vulnerability of economy to falling oil prices



Television controlled by oligarchs Berezovsky, Gusinsky

  • Television controlled by oligarchs Berezovsky, Gusinsky

  • Russia is a chaos of competing chains of organized crime

  • Federal government disorganized, unreformed

  • Weak central power & strong regions

  • Compromise with Chechens leads to chaos in the Caucasus





Law degree from Leningrad State University

  • Law degree from Leningrad State University

  • Recruited by KGB (1975-1991)

  • Worked in GDR (East Germany) 1985-1990

  • On return to Russia worked in administration of Anatoly Sobchak, liberal mayor of St Petersburg

  • 1998 Becomes head of FSB, successor to KGB



Paradoxical figure: liberal and KGB backgrounds

  • Paradoxical figure: liberal and KGB backgrounds

  • Stiff, awkward in formal situations

  • Personable likeable one-to-one

  • Perceived by ordinary Russians as their kind of guy

  • Extremely intelligent and articulate

  • Hardworking and well-briefed

  • Can be ruthless when necessary



August 1999 Vladimir Putin appointed prime minister of Russia by Eltsin

  • August 1999 Vladimir Putin appointed prime minister of Russia by Eltsin

  • September 1999 Putin opens second Chechen war

  • Organizes new party “Unity” with Boris Berezovsky’s money for December elections

  • Putin named acting president by Eltsin on December 31, 1999



Putin’s objective: to break the logjam in the Duma (parliament) that had blocked efforts at reform

  • Putin’s objective: to break the logjam in the Duma (parliament) that had blocked efforts at reform

  • Gradually over three elections with changes in the electoral law (eliminating single-member districts), United Russia becomes the dominant party

  • Russia Votes



Economic reform: appoints first-class economists (Kudrin, Gref, Chubais) to important posts

  • Economic reform: appoints first-class economists (Kudrin, Gref, Chubais) to important posts

  • Balance budget, repay foreign debt, build up stabilization fund while oil and gas prices are high

  • Tax reform: flat income tax of 13%

  • Private ownership of land

  • Increase wealth of Russia: during his 8 years in office, average salaries increase 6 times

  • Pensions, public sector salaries paid on time

  • Current endebtedness of Russia



12 August 2000 Kursk submarine incident: nuclear sub experiences explosion in torpedo, sinks to the bottom of the sea

  • 12 August 2000 Kursk submarine incident: nuclear sub experiences explosion in torpedo, sinks to the bottom of the sea



  • 23 October 2002 Nordost hostage taking: 850 people at musical taken hostage by about 40 Islamic terrorists

  • After three days 39 terrorists and 129 hostages killed (mostly by gas pumped into the building by Special forces)



Reverts to the anthem of the USSR with new patriotic words: Russian national anthem

  • Reverts to the anthem of the USSR with new patriotic words: Russian national anthem

  • Strengthens the role of the Russian Orthodox Church.

  • Propaganda in favour of the achievements of Russia AND the USSR (victory in 1945, sputniks, sport)

  • Begins to rebuild armed forces



Centralization of all power in the hands of the president in Moscow

  • Centralization of all power in the hands of the president in Moscow

  • Unity Party (Edinstvo) develops into United Russia (Edinaia Rossia)

  • organization of Russian political life around one party reaching down from the Kremlin to local levels

  • Local governors’ job: to turn out the vote and support Kremlin’s initiatives

  • Other tame parties tolerated so long as they do not try to claim more than token power.



Takes on the oligarchs – deeply unpopular with Russians

  • Takes on the oligarchs – deeply unpopular with Russians

  • Warns oligarchs not to meddle in politics

  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky, head of oil company Yukos arrested in 2003, tried for tax fraud, sent to Siberia

  • Seizes their assets; Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky driven into exile



Takes over the TV stations formerly owned by oligarchs: Berezovsky, Gusinsky

  • Takes over the TV stations formerly owned by oligarchs: Berezovsky, Gusinsky

  • TV self-censorship: no criticism or ridicule of president or policies

  • Numerous investigative journalists murdered, including Anna Politkovskaia

  • Recently introduced English-language world-wide service Russia Today to give Russian point of view



Rules for elections continually rewritten to favour United Russia:

  • Rules for elections continually rewritten to favour United Russia:

  • minimum 7% vote to get into Duma,

  • single-member districts eliminated: only party lists allowed

  • Result: independents eliminated, only four parties currently represented in Duma: UR, CPRF, LDPR, Fair Russia



  • Beginning 2004 (after Beslan) governors of regions now appointed by the President, not elected, only approved by regional assemblies (usually dominated by UR)

  • Inefficient or corrupt governors can be removed by Presidential decree



Putin’s programme requires a hugely bureaucratic state

  • Putin’s programme requires a hugely bureaucratic state

  • Corruption blossoms at every level from police to ministries: no free press to expose abuses, bureaucrats have unlimited power

  • Transparency International puts Russia at 147 on world perception of corruption index

  • Bureaucracy stifles free enterprise: small and medium-sized businesses harrassed by local officials

  • Bureaucracy often hand-in-glove with monopolies to suppress competition



NATO/US Expansion into E. Europe

  • NATO/US Expansion into E. Europe

  • 1999 Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary

  • 2004 Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia

  • Independence of Kosovo even though U.N. Security Council resolution 1244 guaranteed the territorial integrity of Serbia

  • Huge US base in Kosovo (Camp Bonisteel)



September 2000 – “Otpor!” Yugoslavia Milošević ousted

  • September 2000 – “Otpor!” Yugoslavia Milošević ousted

  • November 2003 – Georgia “Rose Revolution”: Saakashvili replaces Shevardnadze

  • November 2004 – Ukraine “Orange Revolution” “Pora!” Viktor Yanukovich defeated by Viktor Yushchenko

  • March 2005 – Kyrgyzstan “Tulip Revolution”: President Akayev replaced by Bakiyev



Putin in Munich



When working in Sobchak’s administration, Putin had a picture of Peter the Great over his desk

  • When working in Sobchak’s administration, Putin had a picture of Peter the Great over his desk

  • St Petersburg tercentenary in 2003: Russia hosts the G8

  • St Petersburg designated as cultural centre





Known in Soviet times as the “Kirov” after a murdered party boss

  • Known in Soviet times as the “Kirov” after a murdered party boss

  • Resumes its old name

  • World-class centre of music, ballet and opera

  • Director Valery Gergiev

  • Revolutionary new styles and repertoire



Revolutionary film taken in one shot in the Hermitage on the shortest day of the year

  • Revolutionary film taken in one shot in the Hermitage on the shortest day of the year

  • Steadycam glides through the halls of the Museum

  • Panorama of Russian history



  • Why is Putin so popular?

  • Could anyone else have done a better job?

  • Is the “power vertical” the natural form of government for Russia?

  • Is the course plotted by Putin sustainable in the long term?




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