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SPP 359

Author: Richard Rose and Neil Munro
Description: This paper examines Putin's actions in the first half of his term as president. It covers what he has done, and presents copious public opinion data showing how the Russian people evaluate what he has and has not achieved. Putin has enjoyed a sustained period of popularity rare in established democracies. From the outset, Putin made it clear that he does not consider that he can afford simply to maintain the status quo. As well as launching the second war against Chechen separatists, he has striven to centralize power through personnel policies and institutional reforms designed to strengthen the vertikal or hierarchy of state authority. Unlike Yeltsin, Putin cultivates inter-party coalitions in the Duma to provide a legal basis for his actions. However, Putin has continued the age-old Russian practice of using selective law enforcement to intimidate political opponents. In foreign affairs, he has sought to exploit events of September 11. New Russia Barometer survey data show that the Russian people consider the country is still a long way from that which Putin aspires to lead.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland