August 4th, 2014
11:58 AM ET

Will Putinism triumph?

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

When he first came to power in 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed a smart, tough, competent manager, someone who was determined to bring stability to Russia, which was in free fall at the time, reeling from internal chaos, economic stagnation and a default in 1998. He sought to integrate Russia into the world and wanted good relations with the West, asking Washington for Russian membership in both the World Trade Organization and even in NATO.

Over time, however, Putin established order in the country and control over society. He also presided over a booming economy, as oil prices quadrupled under his watch. So he began creating a repressive system of political, economic and social control to maintain his power.

As he faced opposition, particularly in the parliamentary elections of 2011, Putin recognized that he needed more than just brute force to defeat his opponents – he needed an ideology of power. The crucial elements of Putinism are nationalism, religion, social conservatism, state capitalism, and government domination of the media. They work in tandem to sustain Putin's popularity…

…The success of Putinism ultimately will depend a great deal on the success of Putin and Russia under him. If he triumphs in Ukraine, turning it into a basket case that eventually comes begging to Moscow, he will look like a winner. If, on the other hand, Ukraine succeeds outside of Russia's orbit, leaders like Victor Orban might regret having cast their lot with a globally-isolated Siberian petro-state.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

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Topics: Fareed's Take • Russia

soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Islam4foools

    WHY THIS ISLAM FOLLOWER FAREED ZAKARIA not writing about ISIS, the sunni kuranic muslim terrorist organisation which is beheading non muslims every single day

    August 13, 2014 at 10:44 am |
  2. Ted Ward

    Putin's need to retain power will force him to control everything and everybody and that will suffocate the Russian culture and economy. The long suffering masochistic Russian people will put up with their new dictator because they have no choice and it's better than chaos. Russia will waste yet another century under a thuggish dictator.

    August 13, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
    • Alex

      Russian people support their president, almost edinoglassno. Where did you get this information about Russian culture and economy? You look like Russia lived up to Putin (1991-2000) and how he lives now. Whether listening to the voice of Russia in the UN Security Council at the same time, and now? Syria. Snouden. Olympic Games. Crimea. Gas to China. Response to the sanctions of the European Union. Where we did not do so?

      August 14, 2014 at 2:55 am |
  3. From Another PointOfView

    Whatever the views on Mr. Putin.-Ukraine pushes brute force and the not long in coming result is most likely a war which will extend within the borders of the US

    August 14, 2014 at 4:59 am |
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