How is Putin transforming Russia?

Putin is not a transformational leader. He can better be defined as a transactional autocrat. His vision of Russian greatness is not a coherent set of principles. It is an assortment of ad-hoc quotes, images, anecdotes and myths rooted in the past of our nation that he uses to communicate his strength and his grip on power.

Yet, Putin has been transforming Russia in some fundamental ways. The degree of his control, the utter weakness of civil society and the length of his rule all have resulted in a few things formerly unseen in our tradition.

  • Fusion of Orthodoxy, Stalinism and Tzarist Imperialism into a new brand of Russian nationalism
  • Creation of a quite liberal market system where ownership rights are contingent on players’ connections and alliances within state bureaucracy
  • Establishment of a secret police state where former and present operatives of KGB/FSB and other branches of secret police form a backbone of the ruling class. They control, directly or indirectly, the national economy, political and state institutions, media, culture and large parts of Russian diaspora
  • Large-scale de-industrialization, due to the dominance of hugely profitable extraction-based monopolies.
  • Shaping of a large cosmopolitan class of wealthy well-educated Russians with a pronounced long-term strategy of becoming part of the global Westernized world elite.

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