Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Threat To Putin’s Big Plans

Opposition groups led by Communists protested the economic policies of the Russian government in the eastern city of Vladivostok on Saturday. James Hill for The New York Times

From New York Times:

MOSCOW — Over the last eight years, as Vladimir V. Putin has amassed ever more power, Russians have often responded with a collective shrug, as if to say: Go ahead, control everything — as long as we can have our new cars and amply stocked supermarkets, our sturdy ruble and cheap vacations in the Turkish sun.

But now the worldwide financial crisis is abruptly ending an oil-driven economic boom here, and the unspoken contract between Mr. Putin and his people is being thrown into doubt. In newspaper articles, among political analysts, even in corners of the Kremlin, questions can be heard. Will Russians admire Mr. Putin as much when oil is at $40 a barrel as they did when it was at $140 a barrel? And if Russia’s economy seriously falters, will his system of hard, personal power prove to be a trap for him? Can it relieve public anger, and can he escape the blame?

“We talk about a lack of democracy in Russia, but I like my own formula for the country, which is authoritarianism with the consent of the governed,” said Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “And it can be taken away.”

Read more ....

More News On The Economic Crisis In Russia

Russia arrests dozens at anti-Putin protests -- AFP
Protesters rally in anger at Russia's economy -- AP
As Economy Sinks, Russians Protest -- New York Times
Thousands protest in Russia over financial crisis -- Reuters
Russia rocked by financial crisis protests -- The Guardian
Economic woes fuel Russian protests -- Al Jazeera
At Least Two Dozen Protestors Arrested In Russian Anti-Putin Rally -- AHN
In pictures: Russian demonstrations -- BBC News

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