News / Europe

Putin's Start Points to Authoritarian Rule Through 2018

James Brooke
Vladimir Putin’s six months back in the Kremlin may say a lot about his next six years.

In May, angry protests greeted Vladimir Putin's return to the Kremlin for a third term as president of Russia.

On inauguration day, Putin's motorcade swept through eerily empty streets of Moscow, Europe's largest city. The streets were emptied by police -- and by a special five-day holiday.

Opposition leader Vladimir Ryzhkov says Putin is an authoritarian leader, ruling in isolation.

"If you look at Putin's last 6 months, after he came back to the Kremlin,  he became much more conservative, pro-Orthodox church, anti-Western, autocratic,” Ryzhkov said.

Pussy Riot feminist musicians were tried for protesting against Putin in Moscow's main cathedral. The resulting two-year jail sentences boosted the Orthodox Church's backing of Mr. Putin.

Nationalists were happy to see the Kremlin cut American foreign aid programs here, and to see Cossack patrols in Moscow.
 
Laws restricting rallies and Internet access were rushed through the Duma by Russia's ruling party, concerned by what it viewed as foreign-sponsored subversion.  New laws labeled political activists and political actions that were legal last year "foreign agents" and "treason."

Over 150 years ago, the slogan 'Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationalism'  was the formula the czars used to rule Russia. Will it work in 2013?
 
President Putin says Russians first and foremost want law and order.

Speaking December 20 at his annual marathon press conference, he said:  "The anarchy of the 1990s brought about the discrediting of a market economy and democracy. People started to fear those things. And I believe that order, discipline, following the letter of the law, it doesn't contradict democracy."
 
Ryzhkov again: "A big part of Russian society is still semi-Soviet, semi-czarist,” said Ryzhkov, co-chairman of the Republican Party of Russia. “So it's an old, old, old idea and methodology on strong hand, a great power, a country surrounded by enemies, first of all Americans."

In December, President Putin reaffirmed his year-long campaign against what he sees as foreign attempts to subvert his regime. Following those comments, Russia’s Duma passed a vaguely worded law that potentially bans more Russian non governmental organizations from receiving foreign donations.

Before the vote, President Putin said in a nationally televised address: "Direct or indirect interference in our domestic political processes is unacceptable.  Those politicians who receive money from abroad for their political activity and thus serve, in all likelihood, alien interests shouldn't be politicians in the Russian Federation."

President Putin also is trying a positive tactic. He is trying to snatch a key flag from the protesters: the fight against corruption.

In recent weeks, corruption probes have brought down a Russian defense minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, and several high-ranking officials. State television has treated viewers to scenes of police removing bricks of 100 dollar bills from the home safes of government officials.

Bernard Sucher, an American entrepreneur, is skeptical about this highly publicized fight.

"As you start going from small to medium you start running into all of the heavy, dead hand of the Russian bureaucracy and red tape,” said Sucher, who has started companies here for the last 20 years.  “Clearly we have at a minimum a reshuffling of the chairs at the top table. That is not the same thing as addressing on a systematic or any kind of programmatic way even the symptom of corruption."

Whatever the strategy, President Putin's goal is the same:  to reach the end of his term - 2018.

You May Like

Somalia: No Popular Elections in 2016

In interview Wednesday with VOA, President Mohamud says 'one person, one vote' elections will not be possible due to continuing insecurity More

Scientists Predict Climate Change Will Increase Child Malnutrition

Public health expert in Germany says that by 2050, 25 million more children's lives will be put at risk because of lack of nutrients tied to climate change More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
December 25, 2012 2:45 PM
No people should have to be under the thumb of government! Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Plain and simple. Down with Putin.

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga region
December 24, 2012 9:38 PM
Hypocrisy of Mr Putin’s words about democracy and law in by his clan-ruling of Russia makes me shudder. “Democracy” Putin-style is sooner dead than alive. Where are basic human rights, e.g. the right to be heard or express an opinion? I, not being a public person, am blocked from Internet access to any international broadcaster. My medical articles in Russian Wikipedia are deleted or ruthlessly “edited” by laymen. Putin’s democracy looks like shot-dead outspoken journalists; political activists threatened by piles of “sucked out of finger” lawsuits or shut down in prisons under any pretext. Putin’s law looks like Magnitsky died all by himself. With rare obstinacy he doesn’t admit that the strategy has already failed in Russia with the tsar Nicholas II and the demise of the USSR.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs