The Kremlin’s long-standing resident is heading for troubleby James Sherr / September 19, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
Photo: World Economic Forum
Vladimir Putin’s return to a third presidential term—de facto his fourth—says more about Russia than it does about him. Whether or not he has been good for Russia, he has understood it. When he ceases to understand it, he will be on borrowed time. Perhaps that time has begun.
Western views of Putin often say more about the west than about him. These views have changed. When Putin first came to power in 2000, what many saw behind the KGB façade was an economic reformer, and Putin lived up to that image for three years. He simplified taxes and made oligarchs pay them, he ensured that workers and the elderly received salaries and pensions, and he established the confidence and predictability that macro-economists and foreign investors like.