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The Russia File

Apr 9, 2021

Russia is often seen as a country that was led astray by a former KGB officer, Vladimir Putin. Informed by his training and character, it is often implied, he turned himself into an all-powerful ruler and turned Russia into the autocracy it is today. But what if he simply was helpless to do any better and is not in fact all-powerful?
The Kennan Institute's Maxim Trudolyubov discusses constraints on Putin's ability to execute authority with Timothy Frye, whose book, Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin’s Russia, will be out this month. Timothy Frye is Professor at the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, New York, and a co-Director of the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development (ICSID) at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.