Sunday, April 4, 2021

Putin’s Russia May have a Single Power Vertical But Results of Its Existence Vary from Place to Place, ‘Novyye Izvestiya’ Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 2 – It is a commonplace that Vladimir Putin has established a single power vertical in the Russian Federation, but a consideration of many issues shows that the results of that supposedly unified and centrally controlled arrangement vary widely from place to place across the Russian Federation depending on a wide variety of factors.

            Novyye izvestiya draws that conclusion on the basis of an examination of the Russian government’s fight against crime over the last decade. It finds that crime rates among the regions have increasingly diverged not only because of cultural and economic differences but also because officials act differently (

            In some places, officials are fastidious in accepting complaints and keeping records. In others, they discourage reporting by the population and underreport complaints to the courts and upward to Moscow. Some, like Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov, act completely independently, while others profess complete loyalty but don’t follow through.

            Underlying social conditions drive crime, but Russia’s regions vary in how they treat those problems. Sometimes increased poverty leads to more crime as in Tyva. Other times increased incomes as in Moscow does. Consequently, for all the talk about a single approach, there isn’t one in this area as well as others.

            And such variations both in official behavior and the way officials respond to social and cultural differences in tyring to manage their respective populations means that the power vertical, as important as it is, should not be seen as all-powerful and capable of homogenizing the Russian Federation to the extent that many assume.


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