Although Russia practiced democracy briefly in the 1990s, current happenings indicate that the nation is an authoritarian economy. Vladimir Putin has controlled most of the government powers without adopting the communist-era totalitarianism. He has put in place effective mechanisms to undermine the media, harass political opponents and systemic critics, and manipulate national elections (Kinossian and Morgan 1679). Russian oil prices have remarkably depreciated, and this has resulted in the overall stagnation of the economy. That notwithstanding, it seems that Russians like their authoritarian leader who is focused on protecting the country from external enemies and strongly reaffirming national policies. This paper critically innovatively argues that Russia is an authoritarian under the leadership of Putin.
Due to the fact that Putin fears that his leadership style may not be popular with the people, he has resulted in doing away with fierce political opponents and marginalizing various groups of people that are typified by leadership potential. This is aimed at making the masses believe that there would be no option to his leadership (Kinossian and Morgan 1685). Since 2000, Putin has focused on silencing the media, influential business magnates, political parties, and civil organizations using a centralized approach. Last December, it was reported that government agencies had secretly followed conversations of Boris Nemtsov, who is a key political opponent. From a legal perspective, it is not constitutional to monitor private conversations of people. In fact, the political leader has moved to court to protest against the action of the nation’s intelligence service (Kinossian and Morgan 1686).
The decision to amend the constitution of Russia with the goal of extending presidential terms raised global attention. It appeared that Putin had all along been keen on returning to the presidency in the last twelve years or so. In that context, Medvedev acted as a placeholder for the incumbent leader. Though Russian polling organizations had reported that the popularity of Putin had been declining before the elections, specifically for one year, it was a shock to many people that he emerged the presidential winner. Many citizens felt that they could not have a say in regards to the process of selecting the person they would want to lead them. The Duma elections resulted in public protests in major urban centers (Kinossian and Morgan 1690). After “winning” the elections, it is now clear that his ostensive power decisions are vested in a few government officials and business people, who have emerged as rich people under his leadership. Under the authoritarian leadership of Putin, some of the key allies are controlling essential financial and infrastructural assets of the nation’s economy. Current statistics indicates shows that the proportion of the economy controlled by the powerful allies of the president is about 10 to 15 percent. In this context, corruption is practiced by his allies, and he fears stepping down for the fear of legal actions for supporting mismanagement of public funds. Therefore, he chooses to remain in power indefinitely using any means (Kinossian and Morgan 1694).
Russia is one of the worst nations around the world for journalists. Last year, a few years ago, Kamalov, who was the founder of a popular newspaper, was killed with the goal of eliminating the publication, which was perceived as being critical to the incumbent leadership. In fact, the Dagestan authorities had been trying to stop the newspaper from being published since 2008. Due to systemic problems in the judicial system, the culprits were not taken to a court of law.
In conclusion, the authoritarian leadership in Russian appears to be associated with many shortcomings to the people and economy of Russia. It would be interesting to see the future of the nation whose leadership has not yet learned from the failures of authoritarianism.
- Kinossian, Nadir, and Kevin Morgan. “Development by Decree: The Limits of ‘Authoritarian Modernization’in the Russian Federation.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38.5 (2014): 1678-1696.