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11. Putinism
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Throughout Russia's history, the weakness of institutions and laws has ensured that the successor regimes rarely, if ever, turn out as intended by the previous ruler. Instead of continuity, the national tradition of highly personalized government often produces a very different political organism ostensibly from the same institutional framework. Yet with former president Vladimir Putin's staying on as a kind of regent–prime minister to the dauphin-president Dmitri Medvedev, at least for the next few years, the ideology, priorities, and policies of the Putin Kremlin—what might be called Putinism—are almost certain to inform and guide the Medvedev administration. Part I of this Outlook discusses the components of the new Russian authoritarianism, and parts II and III examine the elements of “Russia, Inc.”—the corporatist state that Putin has built—and the factors that may affect Russia's economic performance, stability, and foreign policy in the future.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Henry Olsen
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's pro-faith, pro-government message is similar to the platforms of conservative political parties on the European continent. But is the Christian Democratic party model one that the GOP should consider emulating?
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The name Fethullah Gülen is virtually unknown in the United States. Self-exiled here for more than a decade, this prominent Turkish theological and political thinker is the leader of a movement estimated conservatively to have more than a million followers in Turkey. The movement controls a business empire of charities, real estate, companies, and schools. Thousands of Gülen's followers populate Turkey's bureaucracies. AEI's Michael Rubin believes that, just as many people remained clueless or belittled concerns about Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's intentions in Iran thirty years ago, many may be making the same mistake today about Gülen, who professes to want to weld Islam with tolerance and a pro-European outlook. Rubin introduces us to a man who could play a prominent role in Turkey's future at a time when Turkey's "secular order and constitutionalism have never been so shaky."
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: It is very much in the Russian and, even more so, Soviet political tradition for rulers to deprecate their predecessors. As they climb up the power ladder, the would-be Kremlin occupants must profess complete loyalty to the current leader in order to succeed. Once in power, the country's new masters bolster their authority by dissociating themselves from previous leaders. Along with the weakness of the country's political institutions, which undermines the legitimacy of the transitions, such repudiations almost inevitably result in the personalization of power, as the new occupants mold the political, social, and economic systems to their liking. Hence, Russian and—again and especially—Soviet history have often looked like a succession of very distinct personal political regimes—indeed, sometimes different states under the same name.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Cold War, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Yegor Gaidar
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In the summer of 2002, after the Russian government introduced the flat income tax, completed fiscal reforms, created the Stabilization Fund, and introduced land reform in Russia, I had a premonition that the window of opportunity for further reforms would be closing for a number of years. I was correct in my prediction.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Russian president Vladimir Putin's term expires in March 2008. Despite the propaganda barrage designed to persuade everyone of an orderly change of government, the coming Russian presidential succession is far from a done deal. The stability and legitimacy that flow from democratic arrangements are compromised when these arrangements are weakened, as happened under Putin, ushering in uncertainty and risk.
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the Russian revolution (1987–91) is a fitting occasion to assess the true scale and the impact of the national spiritual liberation known as glasnost, and to put it into a broader context of the history of ideas and their role in revolutions. Such an examination is doubly useful today, when a steady stream of Kremlin-sponsored propaganda seeks to distort and minimize what glasnost has wrought.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Concerns over deflation have dominated monetary policy during the past several years in Japan, and also in the United States as recently as 2003. As a result, the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve have been highly accommodative. In Japan, this took the form of a zero interest rate. In the U.S. context, it was manifest in rates at well below normal yardsticks, such as nominal GDP growth that would call for U.S. policy interest rates close to 6 percent rather than at current levels below 5 percent. Unusually accommodative monetary policies and the substantial liquidity flows they have entailed have boosted asset values and compressed risk spreads. Consequently, demand growth has persisted at high levels for long enough to cause modestly higher inflation. The time has come for tighter monetary policy, and central banks in the United States, Europe, and Japan have all begun to apply it.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe, Israel, East Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On Tuesday, January 18, the yield on fifty-year inflation-protected U.K. government bonds (what the British call "indexed-linked gilts") dropped to 0.38 percent, about one-seventh the historical average of just over 2.6 percent for such debt instruments. Just a few months earlier, that yield had been over 1 percent, still extraordinarily low by historical standards, and especially low in an economy that has experienced fifty-three consecutive quarters of positive growth. A yield drop from 1 percent to 0.38 percent on a fifty-year bond corresponds to a 30 percent rise in its price over a period of just three months. That is an annual return of over 100 percent, much higher than the 13 percent annual increase in U.S. house prices at midyear and the 20 to 30 percent gains seen in the stock market before the March 2000 crash. The asset bubble has spread to long-term government bonds, especially those with inflation protection. What is going on here?
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: David Frum
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The war on terrorism demands that we focus not only on terrorists abroad, but also those who—by making excuses for them—aid and abet terrorism at home.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Europe