Russian Democracy in Eclipse: Force, Money, and Pluralism

Issue Date July 2004
Volume 15
Issue 3
Page Numbers 32-42
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Vladimir Putin has pursued an anti-pluralist strategy, remaking the balance of power in Russian politics to favor “force” (the coercive apparatus of the old state bureaucracy, especially the KGB) over “money” (those who gained new wealth after 1991, especially the “oligarchs”). Will this new balance endure? Business has many reasons—and increasing resources—for pursuing a larger political role. The future of Russian pluralism depends above all on the response of business interests to changing economic and political circumstances. Will they doubt their legitimacy and seek a protector—or ally with others to alter Putin’s bureaucratic order?

About the Author

Stephen Sestanovich is professor of international diplomacy at Columbia University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served from 1997 to 2001 as ambassador-at-large and special advisor to the U.S. secretary of state for the former Soviet Union.

View all work by Stephen Sestanovich