Kathryn Stoner is senior fellow and the Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at the Freeman Spogli Institute, professor of political science at Stanford University (by courtesy), and senior fellow (by courtesy) at the Hoover Institution. Her most recent book is Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order (2021).
Vladimir Putin’s reputation as a skillful leader was buoyed by years of economic good fortune. But when his regime faltered, his rule quickly descended into the fearful, repressive, and paranoid state we see today.
Vladimir Putin has pulled the plug on democracy in Russia in an effort to strengthen the authority of the central state. But a look at Russian federal relations shows that the state is growing weaker rather than stronger.