Russia’s regime has gone through a major aggravation during the first year of President Vladimir Putin’s second term. The regime suffers from serious overcentralization of power, which has led to a paralysis of policy making. Putin’s power base has been shrunk to a core of secret policemen from St. Petersburg. Although his popularity remains high, it is falling. Neither unbiased information nor negative feedback is accepted. As a result, the Putin regime is much more fragile than generally understood. Russia’s current abandonment of democracy is an anomaly for such a developed and relatively wealthy country, and it has made Russia’s interests part from those of the United States.

In this new Policy Brief, Carnegie senior associate Anders Aslund asserts that the United States should not hesitate to promote democracy in Russia, while pragmatically pursuing common interests in nonproliferation and energy.

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About the Author
Anders Åslund is the director of the Russian and Eurasian Program and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment.  He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and co-directs the Carnegie Moscow Center's project on Economies of the Post-Soviet States. He is the author of Building Capitalism: The Transformation of the Former Soviet Bloc and Betraying a Revolution (Washington Post, May 2005).