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
1. Telephone conversation between Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton on September 8, 1999. Decryption. Kommersant, 01.09.2018 (In Russ.) Available at: https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3730610 (accessed 19.05.2020).
2. Putin Vladimir. Rossiya na rubezhe desyatiletii [Russia at the turn of the decade]. Nezavisimaya gazeta. 30.12.1999. Available at: https://www.ng.ru/politics/1999-12-30/4_millenium.html (accessed 19.05.2020).
3. “Open letter” to voters (In Russ.) Available at: http://kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/24144 (accessed 19.05.2020).
4. Sogrin V.V. Politicheskaya istoriya sovremennoi Rossii. 1985–2001: ot Gorbacheva do Putina [Political history of contemporary Russia. 1985–2001: from Gorbachev to Putin]. Moscow, Ves’ Mir, 2001. 260 p.
5. Barsenkov A.S., Vdovin A.I. Istoriya Rossii. 1917–2007 [History of Russia. 1917–2007]. Moscow, Aspekt Press, 2008. 831 p.
6. Inflation indicators in Russia in 2000–2010: statistics and forecast. FundsHub.ru (In Russ.) Available at: http://www.fundshub.ru/finances/benchmarks/6396.php (accessed 19.05.2020).
7. Socio-economic indicators of Russian Federation in 1991–2017 (In Russ.) Available at: https://www.gks.ru/free_doc/doc_2018/year/pril_year18-rus.xls (accessed 19.05.2020).
8. Russian GDP by years 1991–2020. iFinance (In Russ.) Available at: http://global-finances.ru/vvp-rossii-po-godam (accessed 20.04.2020).
9. Foreign investment in Russia (In Russ.) Available at: https://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ruwiki/1506447#.D0.A5.D1.80.D0.BE.D0.BD.D0.BE.D0.BB.D0.BE.D0.B3.D0.B8.D1.8F (accessed 20.04.2020).
10. Graham Thomas. A Modernizing Czar. The Wall Street Journal, 22.01.2008. Available at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB120103072073707319 (accessed 20.04.2020).
11. Russia’s oil industry. Trouble in the pipeline. Despite booming demand and record prices, Russia’s oil industry faces problems. The Economist, May 8, 2008. Available at: https://www.economist.com/business/2008/05/08/trouble-in-the-pipeline (accessed 20.04.2020).
12. Goldman M.I., Myers J.J. Petrostate: Putin, Power and the New Russia. Oxford University Press, 2008. Available at: https://www.carnegiecouncil.org/studio/multimedia/20080604-petrostate-putin-power-and-the-new-russia (accessed 20.04.2020).
13. Speech by Vladimir Putin at the Munich Conference on Security Policy February 10, 2007 (In Russ.) Available at: http://special.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/24034 (accessed 27.04.2020).
14. Address by the President of the Russian Federation on March 18, 2014 (In Russ.) Available at: http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/20603 (accessed 27.04.2020).
15. Statistics: history of oil prices (In Russ.) Available at: http://ruxpert.ru/Статистика:История_цен_на_нефть (accessed 21.05.2020).
Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX