Is Vladimir Putin the new Russian tsar?
Russia - no tame tsar: Putin carries the Russian power gene
No tame tsar: Putin carries the Russian power gene
Political interference in the Russian system could result in President Vladimir Putin remaining at the levers of power beyond his term in office.
The Russian poet Fyodor Ivanovich Tjuttschew once wrote that one cannot understand Russia. "You can only believe in the country." And Vladimir Putin obviously only believes in Russia as long as he himself is at the forefront of power.
This is how one could interpret the constitutional reform announced yesterday, with which the 67-year-old long-term ruler ostensibly wants to give parliament more power. In the long term, political interference in the Russian system could mean that Putin will remain in the aforementioned levers of power beyond the end of his presidency in 2024. The prime minister (next to the president the number two in the country) should have more influence. Likewise the already powerful President of the Council of State. Both offices would still be open to Putin after 2024.
A look back at the bloody history of the largest country in the world shows how important the idea of a central power figure is in Russian thinking. Ivan the Great, who threw the Mongols from the Russian expanse in the 15th century, relied on the personality cult. He had a powerful administrative complex built in what is now Moscow, from which his grandson Ivan IV later drove the Russian expansion into Siberia. Ivan IV was crowned the first Russian tsar: a title that lasted until the 18th century.
Stalin and the oligarchs: Russians want to be rulers
But then Tsar Peter the Great found it no longer appropriate. The builder of the city of Saint Petersburg upgraded the Russian ruling caste and officially called himself emperor. The new title was intended to underline the claim to leadership of the Russian rulers within Europe: a claim to leadership that Vladimir Putin is asserting today with military interventions in the Middle East and North Africa instead of with imperial titles.
With the Russian Revolution of 1917, the last "emperor and autocrat of all Russia", Nicholas II, had to resign. He was followed by no less power-hungry gentlemen: Lenin and Trotsky brought the country a bloody civil war, and from 1922 Stalin cracked down on everyone who got in the way of his failed planned economy and his pursuit of absolute power.
After the Second World War, which killed around 27 million Russians, Russian influence spread rapidly in the “liberated” states of Eastern Europe. Until its dissolution in 1991, the Soviet Union subjected an entire continent to the will to power of its respective leaders.
The privatization of the economy after the proclamation of the Russian Federation in 1992 led to the creation of a new ruling class: very wealthy oligarchs bought entire branches of the economy and concentrated a great deal of power on themselves.
Since 1999, the nation of faith has in fact been ruled by Putin. It seems unlikely that he will simply give up his immense power in 2024. There is too much tsar in the supposedly powerful democrats at the top of Russia.
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