Staunton, March 16 – Without waiting for a ruling from the Constitutional Court or the result of the popular referendum on his amendments, Vladimir Putin is introducing a new model of rule, one that represents “a synthesis of a royal court and the CPSU Central Committee,” Kirill Martynov, politics editor at Novaya gazeta, says.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Putin has ordered the formation of a working group in the State Council under the leadership of Sergey Sobyanin to coordinate the government’s fight against the virus, an action totally without precedent or justification under the existing Constitution, the editor says (echo.msk.ru/blog/kirillmartyn/2606390-echo/).
The State Council has existed formally since 2000, but it has never been granted the powers to manage such “critical tasks.” Nonetheless, it is now clear that Putin wants this working group to oversee what the government does, and that by itself represents a change in the way in which authority is allocated.
It is also clear, Martynov says, that “the new administrative model departs from that of the Weberian bureaucracy and will operate more as a synthesis of a royal court and the CPSU Central Committee.” From the former will come the primacy of loyalty and obedience to the ruler; from the latter, “a doubling of government structures” and competition between them.
How this will work out remains to be seen, he acknowledges, but it is a sign of the direction in which Putin wants things to head.
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