Tuesday, April 26, 2005


MosNews: Political Analyst Forecasts End of Putin Era

Created: 26.04.2005 13:45 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 13:45 MSK, 57 minutes ago


Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the end of his political era in his state-of-the-nation address to parliament, analyst Stanislav Belkovsky said on Tuesday.

In an article published by the Vedomosti newspaper, he explained that Putin's promise of stability could mean an end to the main basis of his power and consequently revolution or coup d'état.

The main ideas in the president's latest address are, according to Belkovsky: an acknowledgement of the property rights for the oligarchs, allowing the legalization of their capital, and a guarantee of the "illusion" of freedom of speech. The analyst says that in his address Putin returned to the standards of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

"So far, the legitimacy of Putin as a ruler was determined by two factors: first, his statute and role as a Tsar; second, Putin's majority, 55-60 percent of the electorate, who voted for Putin, as if for a conceptual, aesthetic and strategic alternative to Boris Yeltsin," Belkovsky wrote.

He recalled that not peace and stability but war -- the war in Chechnya and, in 2003-2004, during the parliamentary and presidential elections that Putin won for a second time, the Yukos case -- brought Putin to the Kremlin. Putin proved himself a "commander in a victorious war against the shameful and humiliating past of Yeltsin" and needed no legitimization from the business elites. Putin has turned from a "president of hope" into a "president of patience," the analyst wrote. He drew an analogy to the situation when the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev turned to stability after reforms and Yeltsin became an incarnation of the country's hopes.

Belkovsky added that the former leaders of Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan (Eduard Shevarnadze, Leonid Kuchma, and Askar Akayev respectively) failed after having promised a "viscous stability" to their countries. Those leaders were removed by revolutions. Stability with a capital amnesty and the abolition of inheritance tax is in the interests of just a handful of Russia's richest individuals. It means hopelessness for the vast majority of the Russian nation, the analyst wrote.

"The main question in this context is what should be done so that the period of Vladimir Putin's decline does not end in Russia's collapse," Belkovsky concluded.

Find story here: http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/04/26/belkovskyforecasts.shtml

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