17 June, 2021

The Wildcard Czar

He’s come out from the cold, but Putin’s real tests lie ahead

The Wildcard Czar

Russia is a country of miracles. For ages her people have believed in them so much that they create some themselves. Russia’s acting president Vladimir Putin’s meteoric rise from political limbo to the position of the most likely leader of post-Yeltsin Russia could serve as a fresh example of the country’s unpredictable politics that makes any learned prognosis irrelevant.

When, last summer, President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin not only as the premier but as his eventual successor, the move took ordinary Russians by surprise and evoked cunning smiles from the opposition, more so as everyone was gearing up for the December Duma (lower house of parliament) elections. Allegations of abuse of power by Yeltsin’s "inner circle" including his daughter and senior advisor Tatyana Dyachenko, coupled with the lowest-ever popular ratings of "Czar Boris" after nine years in power made analysts think his days were numbered. Beleaguered by two major opposition groups-the Communists and the ‘Fatherland-All-Russia’ block-all set to win a...

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