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Putin's Russia

Dale R. Herspring
Price: $ 26.95

A figure of controversy ever since he took over as acting president in 2000, Vladimir Putin has been little understood in the West. In this first full-scale assessment of Putin's leadership, prominent scholars explore the daunting domestic and international problems facing Russia today. Domestically, Putin inherited an economy in shambles, rogue regional leaders, a collapsing army, and widespread lawlessness and corruption. Internationally, Moscow was isolated, with U.S.-Russian relations at an all-time low.

The contributors give Putin a mixed assessment. On the positive side, they note that the economy has begun to turn around, even if it is primarily based on the country's ability to export oil. Meanwhile, Putin has begun to work, albeit autocratically, with the Duma as a series of badly needed laws have been introduced and an effort to reform the legal system has been launched. Furthermore, he is upgrading the military and lessening the oligarchs' political clout, at the same time drastically improving Russia's standing in the world. On the negative side, all of the contributors agree that Putin has relied on the traditional Russian method of centralized control. Individual, media, and regional rights have been curtailed, corruption remains a major problem, the war in Chechnya drags on, and major reforms in the military and economic spheres have yet to be implemented.

Despite his authoritarian approach, Putin's popularity has soared. The book concludes that if he remains in power--as seems likely--Putin will continue to address his country's problems in an incremental and centralized manner as he moves toward his goal of restoring Russia to the status of a world power.

List of Contributors
Ambassador James J. Collins, Virginie Coulloudon, Timothy J. Colton, Dale R. Herspring, Jacob W. Kipp, Masha Lipman, Michael McFaul, James R. Millar, Nikolai Petrov, Thomas F. Remington, Peter Rutland, and Darrell Slider

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