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Is Putin an Ism?

Sakwa, Richard (2020) Is Putin an Ism? Russian Politics, 5 (3). pp. 255-282. ISSN 2451-8921. (doi:10.30965/24518921-00503001) (KAR id:82716)


The Putin phenomenon represents a complex and dynamic interaction between the character of the man, his policies and leadership style. After over two decades in office, we can ask whether there is such a thing as ‘Putinism’, and if so, what are its main features? What are the criteria to be considered an ‘ism’? At the minimum, it requires some sort of ‘grand strategy’ that underpins policy in domestic and foreign policy, and which unites the two. A grand strategy is defined as some deep structure in domestic and foreign policy that transcends individual leaders and which has some overarching purpose. Putinism in this paper is considered a ‘passive revolution’, allowing a profound transformation to take place in society while the polity remains relatively static. One of the main criticisms levelled against Putin is that he is brilliant at tactics, above all in factional maneuvering, but lacks an over-arching vision of where Russia should go. This paper assesses whether Putin is ultimately an ephemeral phenomenon, or whether the era with which his name is associated will endure in history as a distinctive style of rule.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.30965/24518921-00503001
Uncontrolled keywords: Putin; leadership; neo-revisionism; post-communism; passive revolution; state populism
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Richard Sakwa
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2020 10:18 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 19:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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