Putin has long paid lip service to the notion that his government should
address the problem of corruption. Is his new campaign for real, or will it be
more of a shootout between corrupt officials and businessmen with more or less
support from on high?
President Putin’s first 100 days have been quite dramatic, with protests becoming edgier and draconian laws being introduced in response. It might be said that events in Russia are developing along the lines of Milos Forman's great film, says Dmitri Travin
Putin is back in power and the numbers of Russians actively protesting against the regime have dwindled. Six months on, what has the protest movement achieved and does it have a future? Dmitry Travin points to huge differences of opinion in different areas of the country and among different strata of society, and concludes it all depends on the economy.
In the second of his analytical articles, Dmitri Travin gives further consideration to Russia’s way forward under its new (or not so new) president, Vladimir Putin. Will he insist on keeping to his hard line or might he take the ‘soft’ option? That too is fraught with potential risk.
The elections are over; the protests continue, though in muted form. Russia’s way forward is not solely a matter of internal politics, but closely linked with Europe’s economic problems. So far Putin has been protected by high oil prices, but he could still prove to be dangerously weak, and what then? Dmitri Travin considers the options
The first indications as to how the Russian regime might react to the country's unexpected protest movement came this Thursday, when Putin took questions during a live TV broadcast. While there was plenty of the old belligerence on show, a new approach to the country’s intellectual elite suggests that Putin has yet to make up its mind.
20 years ago there was all to play for: the USSR was defunct and Russia was embarking on a bright future. But the much-needed economic reforms have had patchy success. Every time they took a step forward, the government lost both popularity and its nerve. Now the Kremlin no longer has the funds to keep people sweet and another financial crisis must be a real possibility, says Dmitri Travin
The resignation of Russia's finance minister Aleksey Kudrin is a much more significant event than the Putin-Medvedev reshuffle, says Dmitry Travin. Kudrin's cool foresight was the driving force behind Russia’s economic resurgence of the early 2000s, and the main reason why the country avoided total collapse during the later Credit Crunch.
Russia’s strongman Vladimir Putin has decided that the time has come for him to return to Kremlin. oD Russia author Dmitri Travin is a native of Putin's home city of St Petersburg, and is well familiar with the conditions which shaped the Russian leader's mentality. The following article was originally published in 2008, but its contents, describing a difficult childhood on the mean streets of St Peteгsburg, serve as a useful reminder of Putin's fighting ability.
Ukraine is busy absorbing the news that opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has been arrested under corruption charges. Most analysts consider the process to be politically motivated, and part of a strategy of power consolidation by the ruling Party of the Regions. Dmitri Travin asks if this means that “once-democratic” Ukraine has finally joined her Slavic siblings Belarus and Russia in a retreat to authoritarianism.
The ever-shifting political landscape in Russia has been gripped by the latest turn of events. Valentina Matviyenko, Governor of St Petersburg since 2003, is apparently moving to a high-profile Moscow job (albeit one with no power). The Russian press has two possible explanations for this, but neither is the right one, says Dmitri Travin
Businessman Mikhail Prokhorov recently became leader of the moribund party “Right Cause.” The Kremlin clearly had a hand in this and billionaires are increasingly expected to take on tasks the government finds difficult, but President Medvedev is also keen to demonstrate that liberal ideas are alive and kicking in Russia, explains Dmitry Travin.
In the lead-up to the 2012 Russian presidential election, conflict has erupted within the Russian ruling tandem over Libya, but can it dent Putin’s seemingly unassailable position? Dmitry Travin considers the possibilities.
The terrorist attack at Domodedovo Airport could have exempted Medvedev from going to the Davos Forum, but in the end he went. Given what he didn’t say in his keynote speech, Dmitry Travin questions if it was actually worth the effort.
On 27 December Mikhail Khodorkovsky was found guilty of money laundering and probably faces another long stretch in prison. 4 days earlier retired colonel Vladimir Kvachkov was suddenly arrested. Examining these two, and one other, apparently dissimilar cases, Dmitry Travin finds that the threads lead back to Prime Minister Putin and perceived challenges to his power and/or interests.
To the amusement of the Russian media, an article appeared in Britain’s The Independent on 6 September suggesting Valentina Matviyenko, Governor of St Petersburg, might be a candidate for Russian president in 2012. St Petersburger
Dmitri Travin explains why this conjecture is so wrong.
Russian government attempts to deal with the heat wave and the resulting widespread forest fires have been much criticised. But Putin’s popularity rating remains high and his government seems to be more interested in keeping it that way than addressing people’s problems, explains Dmitry Travin
Two years ago, on 7 May 2008, Dmitri Medvedev was sworn in as president, re-placing Vladimir Putin. At this mid-point of his term in office, Dmitri Travin assesses his record so far and finds no cause for cheer.
Yegor Gaidar, architect of the radical economic reforms in Russia which followed the fall of Soviet power, died on 15 December. Dmitry Travin reflects on the achievement of a great economist and patriot who saved his country and quietly shouldered the hatred that followed.
Control of St.Petersburg’s television station, once free-thinking and vibrant, has been handed to producers from Moscow. Considered by Russians to be the country’s cultural capital, it will once more become the provincial city it was in Soviet times, says Dmitry Travin.
Gazprom's controversial decision to build a skyscraper in St. Petersburg had the support of Putin and governor Valentina Matvienko. But a recent broadside on TV suggests that broader forces of political opposition may be gathering behind this ostensibly cultural decision, comments Dmitry Travin