At present, the Kremlin controls politics in Russia. However, the level of falsification at the recent elections in December triggered protests throughout the country, with one meeting attracting 80,000-120,000 people in Moscow.
While the political climate has changed significantly over the past 20 years, some elements of the Soviet Union mindset and use of Communist structures can still be discerned, as noted in an interesting article in The Economist on 10 December 2011, entitled: The long life of Homo sovieticus
It is only natural that some of the best insight on the current state of politics and the business environment comes from Russian publications and media outlets, with Kommersant and Vedomosti standing out together with on-line journals ej.ru and newtimes.ru, while Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) leads the way in radio.
Some of the forecasts can be quiet harrowing, as provided by accomplished economist and former Presidential adviser Andrey Illarionov. This can be accessed (in Russian) from youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z61eazVp2Ug
He also offers an analysis of power sharing from 1991 to 2011, explaining that since Putin’s rise to the Presidency, the Federal Security Service (FSB) shared power with so-called technocrats such as Alexei Kudrin. This came to an end when the latter resigned, with his resignation viewed as a betrayal by Putin and an indication that he could no longer rely on technocrats and is forced from now on rely only on the FSB.
Other commentators are more optimistic, in particular authoritative author and political commentator on Russian developments Yulia Latynina in an article penned on 31 December 2011 on ej.ru, entitled Putin against Navalny, where she calls on the opposition forces to rally behind the anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny in the 2012 presidential elections. Some people are concerned about his stance on nationalism, however.
By contrast Nikolai Svanidze, in a posting entitled Dismantling on ej.ru on 2 January 2012 believes that the forthcoming presidential elections could end up in a battle between Vladimir Putin and communist leader Gennady Zyuganov and in this case calls on the people to back Putin.
Meanwhile economist Mikhail Delyagin provides on ej.ru a list of demands aimed at transforming Russia into what he call an honest state in an item penned on 30 December 2011: On the agenda: We don’t need good leaders, but rather an honest state
I apologise if these translations of the articles don’t do the original Russian titles justice and will also seek to indicate instances where translations appear on the web. It is often the case that some of Ms Latynina’s postings end up in abbreviated form in English in the English-language Moscow daily The Moscow Times.