March 4, 2005 by AK

(Thanks to Laurence Jarvik) Mary Dejevsky

The second circumstance that constrains Putin is pressure from conservative interests. A common western assumption is that if only Putin would embrace reform more enthusiastically, it would happen at once. The truth is that he could find himself out of a job. The pro-western reform constituency in today’s Russia is negligible. The real opposition to Putin comes from the loose alliance of conservatives – communists and nationalists – who oppose further reform and who make up the only opposition to Putin’s ill-defined United Russia party not only in the Duma (parliament), but on the streets.

Note the peculiar use of the word “conservative.” Back to Whither Reform? Everyone wants change; reform is a bad word.


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