Thursday, May 31, 2018

Putin Given Truly Tsar-Like Powers over the Economy

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 31 – Vladimir Putin has amassed so many powers, legally or illegally, that many have suggested that he is like a tsar. But this week, the Duma and Federation Council “without much fuss” gave the Kremlin leader powers which can only be described as those of a tsar, Babr journalist Vlad Krasov says. 

            This grant came in the form of two laws. The first gives Putin the power to prohibit the importation of goods and the cessation of cooperation with other countries without reference to any other Russian government body in the name of countering sanctions imposed by others but not limited to that, Krasov says (

                In its first draft, this Duma measure specified what products should be banned and what cooperation ended, but in the end, the Duma simply handed over all those decisions to the president, giving him formally powers that no Russian leader has ever had before.

            The second measure came in the form of parliamentary approval of a draft law that was first introduced in 2014. After languishing for three years, it was suddenly and “unexpectedly approved in the course of two days by the Duma and backed by the Federation Council on the next.

            According to this new law, Krasov writes, “the president in exceptional circumstances can reorganize, liquidate or change the legal status of companies and corporations in particular fields of activity,” although these restrictions are nowhere defined in the measure and thus do not in fact exist.

            “The law allows the chief of state independently to decide,” the Babr journalist says, how companies should behave, what deals they should make or not, and what stocks they should issue or buy back.” In short, Putin will now be able to overrule any and all company mangers and boards of directors.

            These are truly “tsar-like.” Indeed, they represent powers that no tsar ever really had.

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