Twenty years after the election of Vladimir Putin as president of Russia, the country is at a crossroads, a critical juncture due to the invasion of Ukraine. The situation prior to the conflict was essentially positive. Despite strong state monopolies, Russia basically has a capitalist economic system and can operate much more efficiently than its predecessor, the USSR. The government is technocratic and innovative (in terms of technical innovations and the digitization of the administration), but has failed to shift the nation’s economy away from its dependence on the extraction of natural resources. There is a very great risk that the nation is setting itself up for years of economic stagnation.
There are, of course, different opinions, some of which describe Russia as a normal developing country with all the problems and peculiarities of such a transition. It can also be seen as an antithesis to Western liberalism (which many conservatives in Russia consider to be a compliment). According to this view, “Putinism” poses a declared challenge to liberalism and “liberal democracy,” and has meant military modernization, aggression in the post-Soviet sphere, and construction of a global propaganda network.
Putinism is described as a conservative and populist form of autocracy. It is conservative not only because it emphasizes so-called “traditional values,” such as the family, consisting exclusively of husband, wife and children and religion, because it generally wants to maintain the status quo. It desires no change, not even in the economy. It needs no change, nor reform, because it lives off the sale of extracted resources.