Putin as a State-Builder

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CDDRL Working Papers


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If Vladimir Putin were to be asked whether he has been performing as an effective state-builder during the almost five years of his presidency, he would surely reply in the affirmative. And if he felt it necessary to buttress his response, he might mention his oft-cited promises to "strengthen the vertical" and establish "the dictatorship of the law" in Russia. But has Putin been engaging in effective state-building? Has he in fact been strengthening the Russian state? If by the term state-building one means authoritarian state-building, then the answer would be: "maybe yes," but also "maybe no."

On the other hand, if one is speaking of democratic state-building then the answer must be a unequivocally no. The aim of this essay is to examine the issue of Russian state-building as it has been elucidated and discussed by Western political theorists and by Russian analysts in the pages of the Russian press during 2004. The results of recent Russian public opinion polls will also be scrutinized.

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