Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Putin’s Philosophy | The American Conservative

There is more to Putin than his past--and the West needs to understand who he truly is and where he places himself in Russian society.
Analyses of Putin tend to emphasize his KGB past and portray him as bent on suppressing democratic freedoms. As the murdered journalist Anna Politovksaya put it, Putin “has failed to transcend his origin and stop behaving like a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet KGB. He is still busy sorting out his freedom-loving fellow countrymen; he persists in crushing liberty just as he did earlier in his career.” For many in the West, that’s the end of story.
In fact, contrary to this view, Putin fits into a long-standing Russian tradition of “liberal-conservatism.” Modern Russian author A.V. Vasilenko summed up this school of thought, writing that “A strong state is needed not instead of liberal reform, but for reform. Without a strong state liberal reforms are impossible.” This is the basis of what British academic Richard Sakwa calls “a unique synthesis of liberalism and conservatism” embodied in Putin’s rule.
Putin’s Philosophy | The American Conservative:
The Russian leader’s paradoxical, strong-state “liberal-conservatism”By PAUL ROBINSON • March 28, 2012

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