This is a blog for use in both of my HIS 241 and HIS 242 Russian history survey courses at Northern Virginia Community College.

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08 June 2008

Back to Putin Again

Just finished reading a column by Roy Medvedev entitled "The New Czar." In the short piece, Medvedev, Russian historian and noted author of Let History Judge, reviews approvingly the accomplishments of Putin's eight years as prime minster and terms him the "one Czar in Russia today," and someone who "looks at Peter [the Great] as a role model. The czar analogy must be in vogue in the US and West European press these days, as when I googled the phrase "the new czar," quite a few references to Putin returned. While he may be powerful, and while he may have some authoritarian (although that is not quite the adjective that I was looking for), Putin still operates within the framework of a political democracy (although the exact nature of that democracy may be debated) and of a capitalist economy, unlike any past "czar." Indeed, since most do not even use the "czar" spelling, which has long been considered antiquated, anymore, one wonders about the message being sent by commentators who persist in applying it to Putin's Russia.


Kevin Henry said...

Given recent events in Georgia, TNK-BP and Mekel, do you still consider Putin's use of power to be different than that employed by the Tsars?

Igor said...

Well, yes, the Medvedev/Putin team is much different in their wielding of power than the tsars. In fact, the MP team is far more efficient in their wielding of power and silencing of any opposition (real or imagined) than the tsars could ever dreamed of being. But, at the same time, the MP team does have to work in a different political environment than the tsars ever did.