How Powerful Is Russian President Putin Really?

Russian President Putin. TASS

Andrew Higgins, New York Times: How Powerful Is Vladimir Putin Really?

Russia today doesn’t seem like “a properly run dictatorship.”

ORYOL, Russia — After 19 months in a Russian jail awaiting trial for “extremism,” Dennis O. Christensen, a Jehovah’s Witness from Denmark detained for his faith, received an unexpected lift from President Vladimir V. Putin at the end of last year.

The president, speaking in the Kremlin in December, declared that prosecuting people for their religious affiliations was “a total nonsense” and had to stop.

But instead of curbing a campaign across Russia against Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mr. Putin’s remark has been followed by more arrests; a conviction and six-year prison sentence for Mr. Christensen; and, in a new low, reports late last month of the torture of believers detained in Siberia.

The gulf between what Mr. Putin says and what happens in Russia raises a fundamental question about the nature of his rule after more than 18 years at the pinnacle of an authoritarian system: Is Mr. Putin really the omnipotent leader whom his critics attack and his own propagandists promote? Or does he sit atop a state that is, in fact, shockingly ramshackle, a system driven more by the capricious and often venal calculations of competing bureaucracies and interest groups than by Kremlin diktats?

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The above reporter has realized a truth about governance in Russia that many Russians have known for a long time .... the U.S. is not the only country in the world with a "Deep State". In fact I would say that Russia's "Deep State", with roots that go back to the time of the Czars,  is probably more powerful and more influential than America's. So yes .... Russian President Putin is a powerful man. But for someone in a small town a thousand kilometres away from the Kremlin, the local bureaucrat or politician is the one who has more power, because they are the ones who can impact your life immediately and directly.

Subscribe to receive free email updates: