RE: All about Russia and the Russians: what is your attitude to Putin?[EN-RU] Всё о России и русских: каково ваше отношение к Путину?
You will probably see a lot of polar opposites in opinions here. I, personally, will try to express both of camps here.
V. Putin is the longest leader in authority in Russia recent history. It was long 18.5 years that he ruled the country. A long and different period of time with many choices between bad and worse and different task that he as a leader had to solve.
I wanna just made a short list of points of pro and contra.
- In late 90s terrorists blow up houses in Moscow and other cities. In 2000s entire schools could be taken hostage. Ordinary people was afraid to sleep, afraid to let their kids go to school. Putin did stop that.
- Major decisions on government level were taken in Logovaz club bu a counsil of oligarchs led by Boris Berezovskiy. Putin did stop this practice.
- He did build a new model of large business and government relations ended up in more evenly distributed income from oil and natural resources.
- In foreign policy he did draw red lines and show Russia's geopolitical rivals that they indeed don't want to step over them.
- Putin was an acting officer in semi-military organization. His approach to administration is a strict top-down model without questioning of rules and orders, with no sign of system of checks and balances. You can run an army that way but not a country.
- As years pass Putin's team started to consolidate great unquestioned power in their hands. And an absolute power corrupts absolutely so, firstly, they made a lot of efforts to enrich themselves using the government and secondly they decisions tend to become really bad.
- (Re)Consolidation of government actives ended up in 60% or more of economy in hands of ineffective government or quasi-government monopolies. Their officials ended up to rule not govern abusing the power in order to enrich themselves, their friends and families.
- This new elite is interested mostly in preserving status-quo where they have a nice privileged positions in society. They strictly oppress any attempts to reform the system bot political and economical as it endanger their personal lifestyle.
- There is no rule of law. The only thing that matters in any clash is how close you are to the center of power and how close your opponent is.
I tried calmly analyse what is happened with my country under Putin's rule. Main point could be the following: V.Putin is a great crisis manager but really sucks at economics. He took the country in pretty bad shape and made it less insufferable but then he didn't manage to come up with any growth program. Economy he built is essentially Soviet Union 2.0 that one day will collapse under its own ineffectiveness with pretty bad consequences if remained unreformed. And any reforms will be stuck under current elite and its proponents risk severe oppression.
So, I let future history to judge Vladimir Putin. Russian history is full of controversal leaders: Ivan the Awe-Inspiring, Peter the Great and Joseph Stalin to name a few.