RUSSIA IN THE EARLY PUTIN YEARS

PUTIN BECOMES PRESIDENT

Putin became president after Yeltsin resigned on December 31st, 1999. The plan was to boost Putin’s standing so he would be well positioned to win the presidential election. When Yeltsin told Putin he going to appoint him as “acting president,” according to Yeltsin’s memoir, the 45-year-old Putin replied, “To tell you the truth, I’m not sure whether I’m prepared for this, whether I want it, because it is a rather difficult life.”

Putin won the election in March 2000 with 52.5 percent of the votes. His closest rival, Communist Gennaday Zyuganov, took 29.5 percent of the vote. In third was Girgory Yavlinsky, leader of the liberal Yabloko Party with 6 percent. Putin managed to avoid a run off but the margin of victory was less than predicted. There were allegations of voter fraud. During the campaign Putin flew into a war zone in Chechnya in the navigator's seat of a fighter and gave out hunting knives to Russian soldiers. The idea was to show that he able, fearless leader.

In the early 2000s, the 1,000-room 18th century Konstantinorsky Palace in Strelna, near Putin hometown of St. Petersburg, was given a multi-million dollar makeover so that Putin could use it as a retreat. It has own helipad, port for the presidential yacht, a network of canals, a man-made island, drawbridges, fountains, an arched entrance, a grand pavilion, 20 red brick cottages, an orchestral hall in a glass atrium and a veranda with a spectacular view of the water.

The Palace was started by Peter the Great but never finished. Putin hosted the G-8 leaders there and hoped it would serve as a center for international meetings and conferences. There were plans to turn an Arctic sailors college into a four star hotel A dacha once occupied by Mathilde Kschessinsk—a famous ballerina and mistress of Tsar Nicholas II—was slated to be turned into museum. By some estimates $200million was spent on the project.

Parliamentary Elections in 2003

In elections in December 2003, the political party loyal to Putin, United Russia, won 37 percent of the vote, the largest percentage for any party since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. United Russia took 222 seats, just shy of the half of the seats in the 450-seat Duma (parliament).

The Duma elections gave a strong plurality (222 seats) to Putin’s United Russia Party, which gained three times as many votes as the second-place Communist Party of the Russian Federation. United Russia and its allies—the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party and the Motherland Party—took 58 percent of the vote and two thirds of the seats in the Duma. This gave Putin nearly 300 seats, enough to pass any laws Putin wished and make amendments to the constitution such as allowing him to run for a third term.. He already controlled the upper house (the Federation Council), whose support he also needed to pass amendments.

The Liberal Democratic Party took 12 percent and the Motherland Party (or Homeland bloc) took 9 percent of the vote. Their members were expected to follow the United Russia party line and do pretty much what Putin told them to do.

The election was characterized by apathy and low turnout, only around 48 percent. Nearly 5 percent of the electorate—about 2.8 million people— rejected all the candidates. Those that voted clearly rejected pro-business, pro–market economics, and pro-Western-style democracy parties. United Russia’s campaign included free rock concerts in Red Square. Each party was limited to spending around $8 million. Putin’s party by one estimate spent $400 million. Perhaps the one thing that helped his party the most was the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the richest of the reviled oligarchs.

The Communist Party and Western-oriented liberal democratic parties fared poorly. The Communist party won only 12.7 percent of the vote, and 52 seats, less than half of what it had before. Western-oriented liberal democratic parties were crushed . The two liberal democratic parties—Yablonko and SBS—failed to get the minimum of five percent of the vote and were kicked out of the Duma. Yablonko took only 3.6 percent and SBS, only 3.9 percent. They and the Communist Party faced extinction.

After the election the Communist Party and Western-oriented liberal democratic parties joined forces in an unlikely, desperate paring to fight the common enemy: Putin. The Communists even began courting rich businessmen Analysts found the trend towards populist nationalism to be scarey. Putin won enough of a majority in the parliament that he could push through whatever legislation he liked.

Between that election and mid-2006, United Russia gained 87 seats as delegates switched party allegiance. In 2006 United Russia had 309 seats; the Communist Party, 45 seats; the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, 35 seats; the Motherland bloc of regional parties, 29 seats; and the People’s Party, 12 seats. Independents held 18 seats, and two seats were vacant. Some 45 members of the Duma and six of the Federation Council were women. [Source: Library of Congress, October 2006 **]

Presidential Elections in 2004

In the March 2004 presidential election, Putin won easily with 72 percent of the vote. His closest competitor---Nikolay Kharitonov of the Communist Party—took 14 percent . The voter turn out was 64 percent. Some of the results were suspect. In Chechnya, for example, the voter turnout was reported at nearly 90 percent, with 93 percent voting for Putin.

Putin defeated pro-market democrat Irina Khakamada, Russia’s best known female politician, and socialist-nationalist Sergei Glazyev and four other candidates. None got more than 10 percent of the vote. Khakamada and Glazyev both ran as independents, which required collection of 2 million signatures on petitions. One candidates, Ivan Rybkin, disappeared for several days and when he returned he said he had been drugged and abducted and taken to Ukraine and filmed in a “disgusting” video. It is believed to the whole episode was staged.

No major opposition figures chose to run against Putin in the 2004 elections. Zyguganov, Zhirinovsky and Yavlinksy—all of whom had run before—decided to it sit out because they knew they didn’t stand much of a chance against Putin. Their parties ran less known candidates. Among the candidates were people that most voters had never heard of, including some candidates fielded by the Kremlin itself to give the appearance that a real election was taking place.

The race was so one-sided that pundits mourned that it signified an end to democracy in Russia. Putin barely campaigned, and he refused to debate anyone. He made “normal working trips” instead. One of the biggest concerns was that not enough people would show up to vote (a turn out of 50 percent is necessary or the election has to be done over). Many of Putin’s appearances seem more about rallying the vote than getting people to vote for him. In some places posters appeared promising free food at the polling stations. Putin spent election day sparring with the national boxing team. Most voters seemed genuinely pleased about the job Putin had done and were happy to vote for him.

Putin was required by law too step down in 2008. But immediately after the 2004 election and even before it there was some discussion about amending the constitution to enable him run for a third term or extending the presidential term to seven years. Putin said repeatedly that he did not support amending the constitution for such changes

Putin and His KGB Presidency

As the Russian president, Putin has been very systematic and patient, carefully analyzing polices through cost-benefit analysis. Half of Putin's official decisions were classified as secret. He liked to do things in a top-down “Vertical Power” sort of way and expected loyalty from those below him the same he way he was loyal to those who were above him in the past.

The machinations of power under Putin have been largely opaque. Putin placed members of the KGB in key positions in his government. Explaining why, he said, "I have know them for many years and I trust them. It had nothing to do with ideology. It’s only a matter of their professional qualities and personal relationships.”

Former KGB in Putin’s Government

Putin was accused of attempting to restore the entire KGB system in an operation code-named “putting thing back in order in the country.” A few months after becoming President for the first time he participated in special closed-door ceremony attended by 300 KGB generals at the former KGB headquarters to mark the founding of the cheka, the original Soviet secret police. During a speech Putin announced: “Instruction No. 1 for obtaining full power has been completed.” Later he praised Stalin, described the break up of the Soviet Union as a ‘tragedy” and called the man who tried to oust Gorbachev in 1990 as “noble.”

Former KGB and FSB men were appointed defense minister, interior minister and head of the anti-drug agency. They were also awarded powerful positions in regional politics and became business leaders. Coup plotter Kryuchkov was invited to Putin's inauguration.

Many former KGB were given in powerful positions in the bureaucracy and regional governments. As of 2005, 25 percent of all senior posts were held by men with intelligence service background. Five of the seven Kremlin-named governors and 70 percent of the staff and 35 percent fo all deputy ministers named by Putin’s administration had intelligence backgrounds. One Russian political analyst told the Washington Post, “There is a snowball effect caused by the clan structure of power in Russia. Putin for example brings 10 FSB agents with him to power, and each of them brings 10 more, and so on and so on.. It’s a brotherhood.”

Putin and the Siloviki

Putin surrounded himself with second-rate former KGB yes men whose duty was to protect Putin and the state and put down any challenges to Putin;’s authority. These men had hardline, conservative views and were known in Russia as the “siloviki.” which means “men with power”

The main man behind the scenes in Putin’s early years was Alexander Voloshin, his pro-business chief of staff. He was a tough shadowy figure viewed by some as a modern day Rasputin and the man who molded Putin into what he became. Voloshin was regarded as the most business-friendly member of Putin’s inner circle. He worked under Yeltsin and resigned in the wake of the Khodorkovsky arrest. The power of the siloviki increased after he left.

Over time the siloviki moved in, squeezing out the remnants of Yeltsin’s team. One former Yeltsin aid described the process as a “creeping coup.” Another told the Washington Post, “By the summer of 2003 the tide had clearly shifted.” A Yeltsin alumnus told the Post, “We got the feeling that something changed for the wrong direction.” When he went to the Kremlin each day he said the place was filled with new faces, “a whole floor of former and current KGB.”

Top staff members included the deputy chiefs of staffs: Igor Sechin, a former translator and close friend of Putin. and Viktor Ivanaov, a 20-year KGB veteran and former deputy director of the FSB (former KGB). In 1999 and 2000 Ivanov ran the agency’s Economic Security Division. which among other things was in charge on keeping an eye of the oligarchs. Under Putin he was put n charge of personnel while Sechin controlled access and the paper flow to Putin.

Putin Reigns in the Regional Governments

The presidency made strong by Yeltsin was made stronger by Putin. Putin reduced the power of Russia's 89 elected regional governorships by dividing Russia into seven federal zones, headed by seven super governors. Five of the seven were formal generals from the military or security forces. The plan was widely praised as way to control lawlessness, corruption and inefficiency that prevailed in the hinterlands. Critics claimed the move was anti-democratic.

In 2000, Putin introduced legislation that allowed the president to dismiss elected governors and dissolve local legislatures whose policies are determined by the courts to violate federal law, and for governors to sack local officials.

Putin also changed the composition of the upper house from local elected officials to legislatures appointed by Moscow. This prevented regional governors from automatically getting a seat. Bowing to demands by Putin, the governors voted to abolish their own seats in the upper house

The changes greatly weakened the power of the regional governors, who were often unruly and openly defied the Kremlin. Among those who praised Putin for doing this was Gorbachev, who gave Putin credit for reigning in the power of regional leaders and forcing them to abide by national laws rather than create their own fiefdoms.

Putin’s Authoritarian Changes

Putin consolidated power by making authoritarian changes in line with his system of “managed democracy” and “vertical of power.”The December 2004 election for regional governors was scrapped. Instead the governors were selected by the president and approved by regional assemblies, which were largely loyal to the Kremlin. The West criticized the move as an erosion of democracy. Putin argued it was necessary for national unity. Rather than being upset many of the regional leaders praised the proposal. A force behind these changes was the Besland school massacre, which left hundreds of school children dead at the hands of Muslim extremists.

Putin also replaced direct elections for half the members of parliament with a party list system in which people voted for parties and the parties selected who would take the seats in parliament. Under this system parliament members were selected proportionally based on party lists compiled by the main parties, all of which were centered in Moscow and susceptible to Kremlin influence. This effectively made the Duma a rubber stamp body.

Other changes included banning coalitions between smaller parties by preventing them from merging their party lists and raising the minimum vote necessary for a party to enter from five percent to seven percent. For a political party to be officially registered it needed to have 50,000 members in each of Russia’s 89 provinces. No sector of the government was spared. The entire system of checks and balances was compromised if not undermined. Control seemed to be the central theme of the changes, and the fact that democracy was too messy and uncontrollable and had to be reigned in.

U.S. Senator John McCain has accused Putin of staging a “creeping coup” Putin said the changes were necessary to create a stable, multi-party system in Russia. “If no environment is created for the growth of the parties’ authority, we will never have a real multiparty system.” He added, it was necessary to create “parties that are capable of taking a real part in the political life of the country and providing for unified national interests.” On democracy, Putin said: “If by democracy one means dissolution of the state, then who needs democracy. Why is democracy needed? To make people’s lives better, to make them free. I don’t think there are people in the world who want democracy that would lead to chaos.”

A popular joke that was circulating at the time went: “In America there is democracy. Yo can walk up to the White House and declare that you hate President Bush. In Russia, there is also democracy. You can walk up to the Kremlin and declare that you hate President Bush.” [Source: U.S. News and World Report]

Russia remains an authoritarian state. There are still secret cities where foreigners and even Russians can not go. After winning the 2004 election Putin spoke out for a a more nationalist, even more pro-Soviet state. In a speech in May 2004 he called the break up of the Soviet Union “one of the biggest catastrophes of the 20th century.”

Super Regions and Putin’s Clampdown on Regional Power

Putin reduced the power of Russia's 89 elected regional governorships by dividing Russia into seven super regions (or districts or federal zones), headed by seven super governors appointed by and loyal to Moscow. The move was made to return power to Moscow that was lost to regional politicians under Yeltsin. The seven super region plan was widely praised as way to control lawlessness, corruption and inefficiency that prevailed in the hinterlands. Critics claimed the move was anti-democratic.

The seven districts are: 1) Central (including Moscow and St. Petersburg); 2) South, or North Caucasus (between the Black and Caspian Seas and home of Chechnya); 3) Northwest (home of Arctic ports Murmansk and Arkhangelsk); 4) Volga; 5) Urals (rich in resource); 6) Siberia (rich in resource); and 7) Far East (large diamond deposits).

In December 2004, the selection method of governors was changed, increasing the power of the national executive over subnational governments. Instead of direct popular election in the jurisdiction, governors now are nominated by the president, then appointed by the jurisdiction’s legislature. The legislature can reject a nominee, but after three rejections the president can dissolve the legislature. In 2005 all of President Putin’s more than 30 nominees were approved immediately by the respective legislatures. [Source: Library of Congress, October 2006 **]

Putin's Popularity

Through much of his first term Putin managed to maintain his 70 to 80 percent approval rating. His success was attributed to his ability to come across as both a liberal and a hardliner in waya that appealed to ordinary Russians and brought political faction across a wide spectrum under his fold. He came across as tough, hard-working, level-headed and smart. He spoke in plain language that Russians like and fulfilled his promises of bringing order and discipline.

On the streets of Moscow vendors sold Matryoshka dolls with Putin on the outside and Yeltsin, Gorbachev, Stalin and Lenin on the inside. A Putin-themed bar, with “Vertical Power” kebabs, in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk did reasonably good business until authorities ordered it change the kebab’s name. There were children’s books, paintings, films and websites devoted to the Russian leader. Demand was high for $1,600, carefully-crafted Putin busts.

A girl’s group released a song called I Want a Man like Putin. It’s lyrics went: “A man like Putin , full of strength/ A man like Putin , who doesn’t drink/ A man like Putin, who doesn’t hurt me/ A man like Putin, who won’t run away.”

Putin dined with Sean Penn and Jack Nicholson at the Moscow international film festival. He welcomed the world leaders George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Gerhard Schröder and Jacques Chirac in his home town of St. Petersburg. In 2003, Putin showed Paul McCartney around when he came to Moscow to perform a concert in Red Square.

Putin's Domestic Policies

In 2000, Putin sacked some Yeltsin appointees accused of corruption. In 2001, he launched a serious to crackdown on corruption out of concern corruption scared away foreign investors and Russia needed foreign investors if it was going to prosper. Putin fired his energy minister after people in the Far East had their limbs amputated due to frostbite because they were unable to get enough heat.

Putin appeased Russia’s ethnic groups while placating nationalist and Communists. In a speech in a synagogue, Putin said, "Every person and every ethnic group has been adding the colors of their own discovered, energy and talent to the palette of common culture.” Putin objected to the removal of Lenin's corpse on the basis that it implied Russians "had worshipped false values.”

Putin was criticized for reacting slowly and remaining on vacation during the Kursk submarine tragedy. He did little to reduce corruption or limit the power of the oligarchs. During The Kursk disaster in 2000 Putin went jet-skiing on the Black Sea while navy families were waiting to find out what had happened to the sailors the submarine.

After winning his second term with a landslide and gaining a majority in the Duma Putin was expected to use the mandate to close tax loopholes that allowed rich companies to avoid paying taxes; decrease taxes paid by ordinary people; support the banking system to create growth of small and mid-size businesses; improve infrastructure; streamline the bureaucracy; improve education; reforming the justice system; and overhaul the military.

Putin reduced the number of government ministries by a third. In 2004, he ordered government offices to reduce their staff by 20 percent.

Protests Against’s Putin’s Policies

In January 2005 Putin faced large protests when he proposed replacing social benefits such as free transportation and health care for 40 million people, including of veterans and pensioners, with cash stipends. There were large protests in cites across the 11 times zones of Russia. It was some of the most passionate and vocal opposition that Putin had faced. Some polls showed his approval rating dropping below 50 percent.

By February the protests had grown bigger. Anti-Putin protestors called for the Putin’s ouster. Pro-Putin protesters joined the fray. By one count 250,000 pro-Putin and anti-Putin protesters participated din demonstration across the nation. The largest individual demonstration had maybe 15,00 participants. The Communist Party and liberal party seized the moment to attack Putin and his party. The government backed down and scrapped the plan but distrust remained.

By April there was talk about revolution like the one that was happening in Kyrgyzstan at the moment and had just happened in the Ukraine a few months before. Youth groups like Pora!, Defense and Walking Without Putin were at the head of the movement. Shaken by the protests Putin raised pensions, military salaries and police wages.

There were also assassination plots. In September 2000, a reported plan to assassinate Putin on a visit to the Crimea was foiled by Russian security agents who were tipped off by security agents in the Ukraine. In October 2003, police in London said they too had foiled an attempt to assassinate Putin. Two men were arrested after they reportedly tried to hire a sniper to shoot Putin during a visit to Britain.

Putin Becomes Increasingly Authoritarian

Putin weakened the legislature and the independent media in his effort to establish a government governed by “the dictatorship of law" and “managed democracy.” Some said Putin’s goal was the “restoration of the nomenklatura.” Putin engineered elections so the candidates he supported won. Those who dared to criticize Putin or challenge him politically risked being investigated or thrown in jail. Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, for example, was the subject of a criminal investigation launched in July 2005 over alleged questionable land purchases after Kasyanov hinted be might run against Putin in 2008 and criticized Putin for backtracking on his promises for democracy. Some have wondered why this was necessary. Putin was popular on his own merits. It wasn’t necessary for him to go to such lengths,

After Russia’s most respected polling agency, the government-owned All Russia Center, reported some unfavorable numbers on Putin’s performance in Chechnya, the agency’s founder and research head was purged and replaced with a 29-year-old who campaigned for Putin’s political party.

The Duma approved Putin’s policies because it was dominated by people loyal to him. There was little opposition. Yeltsin and Gorbachev were about theonly ones to speak out against the anti-democratic nature of the policies. Some called the changes and the tactics to achieve them “soft Stalinism.” Many ordinary Russians supported the trend. Those who didn’t reacted more with indifference than outrage. People didn’t bother voting in elections. There was talk of stagnation.

The avant-garde guard poet Lev Rubinshtein described the Putin years as “velvet stagnation.” The writer Vladimir Sorokin told The New Yorker, “Putin has come and put everyone to sleep.” A tax bureaucrat told the Washington Post, “People like President Putin because he is the one who guarantees a quiet life. There is stability in my job but no possibilities.”

Espionage Under Putin

Putin said he did "not want to return to some past practices" and hoped to use the Russian intelligence services to catch up with the West technologically. Intelligence experts say its much cheaper and faster to steal scientific secrets than developed and nurture scientific institutions. Russia now reportedly has spies in the U.S. with a mission of uncovering trade and business secrets.

Under Putin, intelligence services have made their presence known. There have been scattered reports of tactics that were reminiscent of the Soviet era: arrests of Russian scholars, restriction on scientific cooperation, harassment of critics of the government and worries that telephones were being tapped and E-mails read. Many members of the FSB called themselves “checkits” after the first Soviet secret police force, the Cheka.

Russia reportedly has nearly as many spies in the United States now as they had there in the Cold War period. Many operate through hard-to-trace front companies involved in acquiring “dual-use technology” such as lasers, computer hardware and software with applications that Russia wants.

Putin and the Media

Putin is reportedly obsessed with the media. An aide told the Washington Post that he would bring home videos of that day’s news reports and scrutinize how he was portrayed. “He watched himself on television and goes through everything,” the aide said.

Putin was outraged by the television coverage of the Kursk sinking in August 2000, particularly on Berezovsky’s Channel One that showed wives of Kursk sailors criticizing Putin’s handling of the incident. A television anchor told the Washington Post that Putin exploded on the matter, accusing the media of faking the interviews. “You hired two whores...in order to push me down,” the anchor said Putin said. “They were officers widows,” the anchor said, “but Putin was convinced that the truth, the reality did not actually exist. He only believes in [political] technologies.” In a closed-door meeting, after being shouted at by victim’s relatives, Putin exclaimed, “Television? They’re lying. Lying. Lying.”

After that Putin was determined to control the media. First he went after Berezovsky’s Channel One, then Vladimir Gusinsky’s NTV, known for its critical coverage of the war in Chechnya. With the take over of the television station complete, the agenda became blatantly political. One Putin insider told the Washington Post, “It turned into an instrument of control.”

Putin and Control of the Media

Putin controlled and intimidated the independent media. After the siege of the Moscow theater in October 2002, Putin tightened control of media coverage, justifying the move by saying that the media interfered with the work of anti-terrorist units. This seemed to include criticizing the President. Before the elections in December 2003, a law was signed by Putin which barred the media from providing information deemed to be election advocacy.

In the early 2000s, editors routinely received threats from the Kremlin that they would be “frozen out” if they didn’t use “friendly” reporters. By the mid 2000s, editors were being summoned to the Kremlin on a weekly basis and given general outlines of what news to report and television station were told who to interview, how long and when. Even Kultura, the culture channel, was given lists of unwelcome guests. One former broadcaster told the Los Angeles Times, “On Russian state television, you can quite clearly see the presence of undeclared illegal censorship along with self censorship.”

An author that wrote a best-selling book that was critical of Putin fled Russia after a bomb exploded outside her apartment. An editor at Ivestia was fired after authorizing the printing of a dead child on the cover during the Beslan school massacre. The post-modernist writer Vladimir Sookin was called a pornographer by a pro-Putin youth group. Academics were also targeted (See Science).

An editor with Echo of Moscow, the last independent source of news, told the Los Angeles Times he gets “calls everyday” from the Kremlin. “The conversations are endless. They want to know: ‘Why do you pay so much attention to Chechnya? There’s nothing happening there...Why are you highlighting this person in such a way? It’s a very controversial issue, and he should treat it tactfully.” He said he and his children also received threatening phone calls at their house.

A correspondent with a state-owned television station told the Los Angeles Times that the guidelines given the media were not spelled but were widely understood. When discussing Kremlin policies he said: “The angle should be that its is a totally positive thing, that the constitution allows it perfectly well.” With new journalists he said, “you ask them about their interviews, they give you an already-censored version of what the interviewees told them. You get the feeling that this self-censorship is already hard-wired in their minds.”

Putin and Control of Television

News broadcasts in Russia in many ways are similar to those in the Soviet era. Putin is shown meeting world leaders, visiting this place and that, and commenting on issues of the day. Other politicians are nowhere in sight. In the early 2000s, Putin gave one press conference a year, and that was with friendly reporters who didn’t ask tough questions. If some cheeky reporter did ask about, say, Chechnya, that segment was edited out of the evening news. A typical media appearance was before a pre-screened group of university students, teachers and local leaders. If there was something edgy it was usually at the expense of an enemy. Shortly before the 2000 elections, stories on the ORT television station accused one of Putin's main rivals of being supported by Jews, foreigners and homosexuals.

Putin was believed to be behind the brief jailing oligarch and media tycoon Vladimir Gusinky. His NTV television station frequently criticized Putin and his handling of the war in Chechnya. Putin was reportedly particularly outraged by satirical puppet show that often mocked him. Putin defended the kidnaping by Russian troops of a Radio Liberty correspondent who had been critical of the Chechen war.

In June 2003, the last independent television station, TVS, a struggling home for many journalist forced out of NTV, was shut down. The Kremlin thus controlled the three major networks and presented the news in way that was favorable to the Putin government. Events such as terrorist attacks were not broadcast until the contents has been checked out and approved by the government first. Protests against the government were simply not shown. The war Chechnya hardly existed. When the Breslan school massacre was happening, the three major networks were showing soap operas and scenes from the American Republican convention.

Putin's Third Term

Executive branch: chief of state: President Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN (since 7 May 2012) head of government: Premier Dmitriy Anatolyevich MEDVEDEV (since 8 May 2012); First Deputy Premier Igor Ivanovich SHUVALOV (since 12 May 2008); Deputy Premiers Arkadiy Vladimirovich DVORKOVICH (since 21 May 2012), Olga Yuryevna GOLODETS (since 21 May 2012), Aleksandr Gennadiyevich KHLOPONIN (since 19 January 2010), Dmitriy Nikolayevich KOZAK (since 14 October 2008), Dmitriy Olegovich ROGOZIN (since 23 December 2011), Sergey Eduardovich PRIKHODKO (since 22 May 2013), Yuriy Petrovich TRUTNEV (since 31 August 2013). [Source: CIA World Factbook =]

Presidential election results 2012: Vladimir PUTIN elected president (percent of vote): Vladimir PUTIN 63.6 percent, Gennadiy ZYUGANOV 17.2 percent, Mikhail PROKHOROV 8 percent, Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKIY 6.2 percent, Sergey MIRONOV 3.9 percent, other 1.1 percent; Dmitriy MEDVEDEV approved as premier by Duma; vote - 299 to 144. [Source: CIA World Factbook =]

See Separate Article RUSSIAN ECONOMY UNDER PUTIN

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated May 2016

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