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Putin's Message

 

Even more important was the message that his public words and actions conveyed to the people tired of post-Soviet chaos and arbitrary rule. His political thought was made public for the first time at the end of December 1999 in a programmatic article written by staff members of the Center for Strategic Studies, established on his initiative. The article, “Russia at the Turn of the Millennium,” was posted on the Internet and was seen by many as his manifesto for the presidency outlining his vision. 

Putin onboard a battleship. Photo: kremlin.ru

Putin’s main thesis is that Russia can regain its former status as a “great power” only by combining the principles of a market economy and democracy with Russia’s realities. Russia is not yet ready for classical liberalism, and will not soon, if ever, come to resemble the United States or Britain. The experience of the 1990s has shown that mechanical copying of other nations’ experience does not guarantee success. Russia needs to find its own model of transformation.

Putin underscores the idea that economic recovery and growth do not result just from economic factors, but are driven even more by fundamental intellectual, ideological, and moral attitudes. He calls for a reform program based on “a new Russian idea,” claiming that, by contrast to the Soviet era, this is no uniform, state-imposed ideology, but represents the basic national values that citizens voluntarily support.

In effect, this is a call for reforms that take into account the political culture of the overwhelming majority of Russians. This culture is an alloy, which combines “traditional Russian values which have stood the test of the times” with “universal general humanitarian values” that have taken root in Russia as a result of modernization and westernization.

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Putin's Plan

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