This essay argues that the sources of the current revival of Russian authoritarianism lie in the country’s economic and political history. Among the major factors behind President Putin’s rise and consolidation of power, it cites an ideological overemphasis on the state that fosters hostility toward human rights and liberties; deeply rooted attitudes that cast the regime’s opponents as dissidents, not an opposition; the commodity economy that allows the rulers to treat the majority of citizens not as stakeholders, but rather as freeriders; and the imperial obsession that makes many willing to accept any kind of politics that secures Russia’s territorial expansion. Taken together, these factors mean that the advent of Putinism in Russia was not a coincidence, and that the West should be prepared to deal with an authoritarian and unpredictable Russia for decades to come.
The Kremlin Emboldened: Why Putinism Arose
Issue Date October 2017
Page Numbers 80-85