Russia’s Politics Amidst the Global Economic Crisis An Empty Scoreboard?

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Series Details No.24,December 2008
Publication Date 01/12/2008
ISBN 978-951-769-214-4
ISSN 1795-8059
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The global financial crisis has had both an economic and a political impact on Russia. Inasmuch as Russia’s political system is infused with business interests and economic considerations, the crisis presents an external and unexpected challenge to the system in terms of rocking the balance between the elite groups. In effect, the crisis calls into question the assumption that the economic and social stability of the Putin years has been successfully sustained during Medvedev’s presidency.

The Kremlin’s response to the rapidly changing situation has been essentially conservative and geared towards strengthening the regime rather than addressing the challenges stemming from the crisis. The anti-crisis measures that are being taken reveal that the government is relying on its finance reserves as the ultimate means to solve the problem rather than reforming state institutions.

The return of Vladimir Putin as president remains uncertain despite the constitutional change initiated by Medvedev. His return becomes more probable if the crisis lingers and the overall situation worsens, thus prompting the return of the 'national leader' to the driver’s seat.

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