• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Russian Politics and Presidential Power takes an in-depth look at the Russian presidency and uses it as a key to understanding Russian politics. Donald R. Kelley looks at presidents from Gorbachev to Putin as authoritarian, transformational leaders who set out to build the future, while sometimes rejecting and reinterpreting the work of past modernizers. Placing the presidency in this context helps readers understand both the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the nature of the Russian Federation that rose in its place. And by setting the presidency within a longer historical context, Kelley shows how the future of the presidency is dependent on other features of the political system.

Putin I, 2000–2008
Putin I, 2000–2008

Vladimir Putin’s elevation to the post of acting president virtually ensured his victory in the approaching general election. The mobilization of Boris Yeltsin’s “family,” including the oligarchs and other special interests that sought continuity, placed considerable resources at his disposal. The advantages of incumbency were many: access to the media, the ability to use the resources of the government to entice voters to his side, and the preeminence of the presidency placed Putin at the head of the pack. The financial support of the oligarchs, who had bankrolled Yeltsin’s 1996 victory, carried considerable weight, as did the vast media resources they controlled. It also was important that the presidential aspirations of Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov and former prime minister ...

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