Although officially considered a democratic federal republic, Russia is de facto ruled under an authoritarian system of a dominant political party “United Russia” with President Vladimir Putin at the helm. A modern-appropriate system of authoritarianism adopted by Putin in Russia seeks to maintain total control of power over the country, its citizens and institutions through various mechanisms, some openly exercising power while others are manipulating private citizens and companies behind the scenes. It is a highly functional system to uphold Putin’s power and maintain a façade of a democratic state but dysfunctional in developing the country and its socioeconomic prospects.
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Putin under his rule has created an authoritarian bureaucratic state which takes elements from the previous Soviet Government and modernizing them. This includes creating an essentially one-party system with a puppet parliament. The judicial system lacks independence, being either pressured or paid off to benefit the government. There is a strong centralization of power and economics, with the local market being strongly dependent on government regulation and approval and most of the largest firms Russian firms are majority owned by entities of the government or strongly loyal figures. The government engages in strong censorship, particularly of state media which relies on propaganda (Higgins, 2019). Meanwhile, the majority of citizens are kept poor, due to the bureaucratic oligarchy that has formed over the years in the ruling elite, and this prevents them from attaining the education, resources, or even inspiration to collectively achieve any change.
An ideal citizen in this state is an obedient person that does not attempt to engage in civil and political activity, while openly being patriotic and supporting Russian ambitions and government. While Russia holds elections, these are largely considered manipulated towards the ruling party and commonly do not meet international standards. Various barriers are established to eliminate registration from prominent opposition candidates. As a result, over the years, Russians have developed voter apathy that is resulting in consequences of the ruling elite taking further control and establishing pro-Kremlin candidates in the legislative and executive roles that continue to normalize Putin and his thuggish approach to both domestic and international policy (Saprykin, 2019).
Higgins, A. (2019). How powerful is Vladimir Putin really? The New York Times. Web.
Saprykin, Y. (2019). 20 years of Vladimir Putin: How Russian society has changed. The Moscow Times. Web.