20 years as Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin rules the Russian state. This is already more than Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev led, but so far less than that of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin. I must say right away that during this period I also included four years from 2008 to 2012, when Dmitry Medvedev led the country de jure, and Putin served as prime minister. Indeed, during this period of time in Russia, the influence of the head of government was no less.
During his time at the helm of Putin, one could hear a lot of good and a lot of bad. This is clear...
It even happened that the same results were considered by some as victories and others as failures. But most of Putin’s opponents, not to mention supporters, believe that Russia has changed a lot during his reign.
Let's remember what we praised and scolded Putin for the past twenty years. It is clear why - for his actions and decisions.
In August 1999, Russian President Boris Yeltsin appointed the young and little-known FSB director Vladimir Putin as prime minister. And just two days after his appointment from Chechnya, which almost got out of the control of the Russian authorities, XNUMX militants invaded the territory of Dagestan. Thus began the Second Chechen War, which continued when Putin became president.
It was not under Putin that this conflict began, but he had to end it, and he did it competently. And although the fighting was bloody, and the losses were large, the security forces acted more thoughtfully and effectively than in the first Chechen one. Of course, this added authority to Putin not only among the military, but also among the entire population of Russia.
The president managed not only to defeat Chechen fighters and foreign mercenaries helping bandits, but also to make this region loyal to the central government. To do this, he drew local influential people to the side of the federal forces, including from among former opponents. An example is the field commander Akhmat Kadyrov, who was subsequently replaced as head of the Chechen Republic by his son Ramzan.
Of course, the establishment of a reliable and strong peace in the region, in which the former federal authorities were already desperate to change something, contributed to a significant increase in Putin's authority in the country.
But at the same time, in the course of the fight against the Chechen separatists, significant mistakes were also made, leading to a significant number of civilian casualties who died as a result of terrorist attacks or during the liquidation of militants. Here you can recall the “Nord-Ost”, Beslan and other tragic moments. The blame for them is often blamed not only on the security forces, but also on Putin personally.
However, one should not forget about the significant number of prevented terrorist attacks.
It is hard not to notice that during the reign of Putin, it was possible to reduce the manifestations of terrorism in Russia, if not to zero, then to a minimum over the past three decades. This is hardly a coincidence that has nothing to do with the activities of the president.
Transformation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
It is unlikely that even the most staunch opponents of the incumbent president will argue with the fact that the effectiveness and credibility of the Russian army during Putin's presidency has grown significantly. Our army today has become much stronger, more organized. She got the most modern and highly efficient weaponnot inferior, and often superior, to foreign analogues.
Significantly improved the training of personnel, its material support, has become more order compared with the 90s. Today, being a military has become prestigious, unlike that time.
Of course, such a transformation of the army is a great achievement, which many consider to a large extent Putin's personal merit. But there is an opinion that the defense spending in our country is excessive. The latest weapons systems are being created in Russia, as these people believe, to the detriment of the national economy. Perhaps partly they are right. Otherwise, such a word as “import substitution” would not have appeared in our country.
But the world is far from perfect, and the best guarantee of security in it is the presence of a strong army that can protect the population, resources and interests of the country. Therefore, defense costs cannot be dispensed with, although they have to spend a significant part of the budget on them. Although we must not forget that even a strong army is not a panacea. This is clear from the example of the Soviet Union.
It is worth noting that, unfortunately, not all funds allocated for defense are used for their intended purpose. An example of this is the corruption scandal that occurred in 2008 (and it is far from the only one) with the Oboronservis company, which had property relations with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
Corruption is bad, especially in the defense industry. But crimes seem to be solved, and that’s good. Therefore, information about the identification of misuse of the finances allocated for defense, for some serves as an occasion to criticize Putin, and for others to praise.
In addition, people are discussing arms sales abroad. Some people think that this is an excellent budget revenue item. And others say that Russia supplies weapons to countries that will not always be used for good. And it may even be used against Russia itself.
Fight against corruption
Of course, Russia cannot be called the most corrupt country in the world, but it is among the 50 leading corruption states.
True, there are social activists who have devoted themselves to the fight against this phenomenon. In particular, there is the Anti-Corruption Fund by Alexey Navalny. He regularly publishes sensational revelations of the myriad wealth of high-ranking officials, most of whom are close to the president.
Of course, you can see with an unaided glance that Navalny’s ambitions are hardly limited to the fight against corruption. This politician, who continues to be called almost the leader of the Russian opposition, is clearly trying to get into power in the wake of the “hype”. And for some reason, law enforcement agencies actively play along with him. For some reason, his materials are not trying to refute, but simply ignored. And when he goes on provocations, they help him to form the image of a "martyr" and a "fighter for truth."
In general, it is strange ... If we have a totalitarian state and a "Mordor", then why does Navalny feel quite comfortable? The maximum that he usually faces is short-term prison sentences for disorderly conduct. And since we have democracy, freedom and the rule of law, then why aren’t their investigations checked? If he is right, then they will punish corrupt officials, and if not, then let him sit behind slander.
This is generally a difficult question. On the one hand, governors and other high-ranking officials are being jailed for corruption, they are exposing colonels with apartments full of money. And on the other - they didn’t put everyone in prison! So, the rest ... either they can not, or they do not want ...
It turns out that under Putin they began to catch and plant more bribe takers more, but at the same time the volumes of abuse reached impressive proportions. Thus, some credit Putin with identifying these very abuses, while others criticize him for the growing scale of corruption.
Economics and social sphere
It is sometimes difficult to say what causes economic success and failure: someone’s right or wrong steps, or just because external conditions have developed. Do not forget that our country has huge hydrocarbon resources and their export is a significant source of replenishment of the budget.
When Putin first came to power, oil prices were high. From 1999 to 2001, they nearly doubled. It was during the period of high prices for "black gold", which lasted until 2008, that Russia managed to make a significant breakthrough. GDP growth of 7 percent per year (in the United States at that time it was at around 2,4 percent) made it possible for Russia to grow and grow rich.
People reasoned like this: Putin came, and life began to improve. To a large extent, his decisions, indeed, improved the situation. Of course, oil revenues played a significant role in this. But you need to understand that it is not enough to find yourself in a favorable environment, you still need to use the situation wisely. And Putin’s team did it originally.
Money was invested in production, education, and healthcare. In 2007, families began to receive Maternity Capital, but today it seems that it has always existed in Russia, because good things are quickly forgotten. By the way, this year the country had a high birth rate.
And although the money went to production, they were allocated not to all sectors. Some of them did not develop, because you could just sell oil and buy imported goods and components with these funds. And when Russia came under sanctions, it had to deal with import substitution. If not for pressure from outside, Russia might have become even more dependent on hydrocarbon exports. And the unfavorable situation forced the country to develop high-tech production, agriculture, and other industries.
By the way, at this time the opportunity arose to create a Stabilization Fund, which is now called the National Welfare Fund. It is his funds that the government uses today during the epidemic. True, today Putin is criticized for insufficient assistance to the victims of the pandemic crisis, comparing Putin’s steps with measures of support for business and the population approved by Trump. But no one knows how events will develop, and whether we can now afford to spend our savings. After all, then there will probably be no place to take funds from.
So whether the authorities are doing the right thing or not, we will probably find out only at the moment when it is all over. And then we’ll praise or criticize the guarantor president.
A big blow for the Russians, and therefore for the rating of the Russian president, was the decision to extend the retirement age. After this decision, support for the population of Putin’s country decreased significantly. Nobody will be able to forget the pension reform, and this is understandable even from a household point of view, because it concerns every citizen (money bags can be put in brackets).
Foreign policy situation
Already few remember, but the first years after Putin took office as president were marked by the rapprochement between Russia and the West.
Russia fought against international terrorism in Chechnya and other regions of the country, and America survived the tragedy of September 11th.
The fight against extremism has become the common goal of Russia and the United States, making the two countries for a short time actual allies. Russia not only approved the entry of American troops into Afghanistan, but also provided the United States with its military bases for the delivery of goods to this country. Here we must pay tribute to Putin, since he did not begin to send his contingent to Afghanistan. Our soldiers were already there, enough.
True, Russia condemned the American military operation against Iraq in 2003.
The cooling in relations between the Russian Federation and the United States and the Western world took place from about 2007-2008. It all started with Putin's speech at the Munich Security Conference, where Putin called on other countries to abandon the unipolar world order. Further policy of Russia showed that these were not just words.
Then, in 2008, Georgian aggression against South Ossetia and Abkhazia was rebuffed. Russia recognized these republics as independent states. The NATO bloc did not stand up for its ally, but the West criticized Russia and Putin.
Another achievement of Putin’s foreign policy is the rapprochement with China, which has become a strategic partner for us. Someone considers this the right policy, others criticize Putin, they say that in vain he trusts the Chinese so much, from whom one can and should wait for a dirty trick.
In 2014, after an armed coup in Kiev, Crimea reunited with Russia after a referendum. Crimeans unequivocally expressed their position.
And although Putin’s criticism for this decision was heard both in Russia and abroad, such a step caused the maximum growth of the current president’s rating for the entire time he was in power in Russia.
As for the Donbass, whose inhabitants also sharply opposed the coup d'etat in Ukraine, Putin’s policy towards this region has been the last six years in the economic, humanitarian and moral support of the people's republics created there. At the same time, official recognition from Russia in the Donbass did not wait. When discussing Putin’s policies towards the Donbass, the opinions of Russians were divided. Some say that you need to leave LDNR to deal with their problems on their own. Others believe that it was necessary to at least officially recognize the republics of Donbass for a long time, or even include them in the Russian Federation. And others believe that Putin knows what he’s doing, because he always has some clever plan (the notorious “KhPP”).
And finally, Syria. The actions of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State banned in Russia were of little effect. Much has changed after entering the Middle Eastern country at the request of President Bashar Assad of the Russian military contingent. True, there is a version that the late Iranian General of the IRGC, Kassem Suleimani, suggested this idea to Putin.
As a result, Russia was able to deploy military bases in the Mediterranean and eliminate the threat of the spread of terrorism from the Middle East to the Caucasus and Central Asia. By the way, the Syrian government forces, with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, managed to take control of a significant part of the country and practically clear it of IS fighters. True, to the end of the conflict and the establishment of peace is still too far away.
And here there is no consensus among the Russians whether Putin is right or not. Some consider his actions expedient, others believe that he was in vain involved in this conflict.
What to expect from Putin
Although Putin’s steps were rarely predictable before, this year he never ceases to amaze.
With the oil crisis, "everything is not so clear." Experts are wondering whether it was Putin’s next multi-march against the US oil industry, or ours somehow didn’t think what they were doing, or Russia had nothing to do with it, and the Saudis initiated the breakdown of OPEC + negotiations. So here, some admire the insight or analytical abilities of the president, others criticize him for ill-conceived and erroneous actions, and still others are simply in a state of shock from the state of affairs in world markets.
In fact, the year began with the resignation of the government along with its head, Dmitry Medvedev. At the same time, it was decided to make many amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Subsequently, it turned out that the Russians would vote for them “in bulk”, that is, for all at the same time.
The events were so unexpected that the Russians were simply at a loss, not realizing whether this was good or bad, and what it threatened them with. Some are trying to decipher what Putin’s “trick” is, putting forward different versions, one more bizarre than the other. Most agreed that this was due to the possible extension of his presidential term so that he could run the state after 2024. The proposal of Valentina Tereshkova did not add popularity to either her or the current president, but full-time specialists in sociology have not yet said their word ...
Apparently, all these shocks were not enough, so a pandemic fell on our head. Worst of all, the world has not yet faced a similar problem. Therefore, no one really knows how to do the right thing, but everyone has an opinion on this issue. From here inevitably appear dissatisfied.
In this situation, it is very difficult to find a middle ground in order to take care of the health of the population and not to ruin the economy. Moreover, the first task contradicts the second. Here, no matter how you act, there will be many dissatisfied. Moreover, discontent is justified. Some lost their jobs, others are struggling for life, still others are in financial difficulties, and others are in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. Moreover, no one really knows what will happen next.
And with any development of the situation, someone will be extreme. And I even guess who ...
The attitude of Russians towards Putin is often diametrically opposite. Some believe that all the troubles in the country are due to the fact that Putin is president. Others believe that Russia only holds on to Putin. Like, Putin will leave, and the country will collapse.
I do not agree with any point of view, nor with the other. I believe that in the twenty years of his reign, Putin has made the country stronger. Of course, he had mistakes, including big ones. But only those who do nothing do not make mistakes.
This man ruled our vast country for twenty years, and in general, he did it with dignity. But the time is already coming when it is worth thinking about a worthy replacement for the current president. We must understand that sooner or later Putin will be replaced by a new leader, whom the current president is probably already preparing.
An ideal system for the country would be when the state machine works clearly and smoothly - regardless of who is currently at the helm. I would like to believe that such a model can still be implemented in Russia.