Is Viadimir Vladimirovich Putin a Dictator? Essay

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Almost twenty five years after the fall of the Iron Curtain in the late 80s and early 90s, a few countries emerged from the shadow of the former eastern bloc such as Estonia and Poland have quite successfully transformed themselves into modern democracies while others seemed to have simply failed to do so. The Russian Federation, the successor state of the Russian SFSR, is a particularly interesting case.

Despite the vigorous reforms and turbulence transition that happened during the Yeltsin-era Russia, many now believe that the old-fashioned communist system or the ‘power vertical’ rather has somehow reincarnated under the rule of Putin. From David Miliband calling Vladimir Putin a ‘ruthless dictator’ to Masha Gessen’s ‘The Dictator’ in
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into a saint. The appointment of Dmitry Medvedev as President, what Putin thought as a mean of continuation of power, was in fact a time bomb.

As Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin ascended the throne once again in March 2012, the girls from probably Russia’s most famous punk band to-date were not the only ones there to welcome his return. Protests, suspected electoral frauds alongside accusations of ongoing human rights violations as well as deep-rooted corruptions indeed cemented his dictator status. As Putin sat down with his senior colleagues from the Presidential Council last month to discuss the implementation of state anti-corruption policy, it is difficult to tell whether this is merely a window dressing or a genuine start of a journey of combating against corruptions. Some did suspect that he was once an enthusiastic reformist but it is not clear whether it was the cruelty of the reality or the power that made him fall out of love with reforms.

Do Russian people indeed need this Putin-style dictatorship (if such thing does exist)? As domestic situations differ between countries, is a western-style democracy a far better option for Russia? Middle-class Muscovites who protested against Putin’s rule might not be representative of all Russians given
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