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April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: The Siloviki in Charge

The holders of political power in Russia today are the siloviki (sometimes called “securocrats” by political scientists). These are the people who work for, or who used to work for, the silovye ministerstva-literally “the ministries of force”-charged with wielding coercion and violence in the name of the state. Since Vladimir Putin’s rise to power at…

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April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: The Rules of Survival

The image of Putin’s Russia as an authoritarian oil state attracts many Western analysts because it seems to carry a promise that falling oil prices will bring regime change. Thus, many were convinced that a major economic crisis would force the Kremlin either to open up the system and allow more pluralism and competition, or…

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January 2009, Volume 20, Issue 1

Is Democracy Possible?

While the belief in democracy has spread around the world, it has begun to crumble in some of the West’s finest academic institutions.