The paper evaluates Putin’s state building efforts in terms of its impact on democratic change in Russia. Putin’s evolution is treated as a response and not a solution to the legacy of the Yeltsin era reforms that created a politico-economic system lacking widespread legitimacy. It is argued that Putin’s consolidation of power through his centralization measures seriously undermines Russia’s prospects for democratization. The paper analyzes his efforts to wrest authority away from regional leaders, oligarchs, parliament and civil society. The analysis contends that concentration of state power in the absence of horizontal accountability and an effective state bureaucracy will only consolidate a non-democratic regime incapable of implementing its proclaimed public policy goals.

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