The Beginning of the Putin's Era (20002008)

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-5-117-127
P. Cherkasov (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Received 21.08.2020.

Abstract. The author of the article believes the beginning of the “Putin’s era” – the first two terms of his presidency (2000–2008) – to be generally successful for Russia. In eight years, the bases of the state shaken in the 1990s were strengthened, the threat of an intensive political struggle, which, however, lost much of its outdoor competitive nature, decreased, the economy became stronger, the living conditions of the population improved, the activity and influence of Russia in international affairs increased. This was largely due to the favorable global economic environment for Russia and, above all, high prices for energy resources, which were the main item of Russian exports. No less obvious were the personal achievements of President Putin, who managed to consolidate the unbalanced state, put an end to the pressure of oligarchs on authorities, restore the Kremlin’s control over regional elites, and extinguish hotbeds of separatism in Russia. He has built the very “vertical of power” for which his political opponents, both inside the country and abroad, will consistently criticize him. Having inherited Boris Yeltsin’s policy of developing cooperation with the West, Vladimir Putin at first continued to follow this path, but gradually became disillusioned with the sincerity of Western partners towards Russia. He was most concerned about the eastward expansion of NATO’s military infrastructure, its approach to Russian borders, and the West’s general reluctance to consider Russian interests. Putin openly expressed the accumulated claims against the United States and NATO in February 2007 at the Munich Security Conference. 2007 was a turning point in Putin’s foreign policy towards the West. Since then, the focus has been shifted to protecting Russia’s national interests. Within the country, for eight years, Putin had failed to create a modern, self-regulating and multi-level system of government. The destructive chaos of the 1990s was replaced by centralized “manual control” from the Kremlin, but it also worked with constant failures. The state apparatus, especially at the regional level, did not work effectively enough, and regional authorities often did not follow the orders of the President. The lessons of the first stage of the Putin’s era were: the reasonably required consolidation of the state, building the “vertical of power” often occurred at the expense of the civil society’s interests, the interests of consolidating and expanding democracy in Russia.

Keywords: IMEMO, Russia, Putin, Berezovskii, Gusinskii, Khodorkovskii, political reforms, consolidation of the state, “vertical of power”, economic reforms, West, USA, NATO


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For citation:
Cherkasov P. The Beginning of the Putin's Era (20002008) . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, No 5, pp. 117-127.

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