Streetwise Professor

October 14, 2007

Precedent?

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 8:35 am

This paragraph from Peter Baker’s review of Timothy Phillips’s book on the Beslan Massacre caught my eye:

A little more than a week later, Putin announced that because of the Beslan siege, he was eliminating the election of governors in Russia’s 89 regions in favor of Kremlin appointment, a move he had sworn repeatedly never to take, as well as eliminating the election of State Duma members by single-mandate districts in favor of easily controlled party lists. How terrorism in the Caucasus required the elimination of gubernatorial elections in, say, Siberia was never clear. But people close to the Kremlin indicated that Putin had long been planning such a move and simply took advantage of the moment to enact it.

“A move he had sworn repeatedly never to take”–like, remaining for a third term, perhaps? “Putin had long been planning such a move and simply took advantage of the moment”–as I suggested he might do in response to the ongoing “clan war.”

In brief, there is strong precedent for what I suggested in “I’m Still Betting that Putin Will Remain President.” That is, there is precedent for Putin using some pretext to take actions that he had repeatedly stated he would never take in order to increase or cement his power. In other words, Putin’s pronouncements on his intention to step down at the end of his second term are not believable in the least.

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