The author analyzes Putin’s first year in office by comparing it to the last fifteen regimes in Russian history. Putin shares many common features with the leaders of the past. He belongs to the group of leaders who were not so concerned about the progress of society as in removing the threat to the existing political order. He is also among those who moved toward authoritarianism in their first year. As all new regimes in the 20th centuries, Putin used democratic ideology for the legitimization of his rule, though he almost immediately began to curtail the fledgling democracy in Russia. While Putin’s regime was similar to the previous regimes in some respects, it was very different in others. First of all, no ruler rose to power from such a politically obscure position. Putin came to power with far less experience than his fourteen predecessors. The circumstances under which Putin came to power have no precedent in recent history. Another uniqueness of Putin’s first year in office was the extent to which various elements of the old regime were preserved. The author dwells on Putin’s first year with special attention. As a predictor of the future, it suggests that Russian society under Putin will remain essentially the same as it was shaped by 1995.

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