Russian Elite Committed Suicide Eleven Years Ago, By Allowing Putin To Return To Power – OpEd


A major turning point in Russian history, one that divides its time in the 21st century into two equal parts, occurred on September 24, 2011. On that day, Dmitry Medvedev and the Russian political elite committed political suicide by allowing Vladimir Putin to return to the presidency, Vladislav Inozemtsev says.

Had the elite not allowed Putin to return, the Russian commentator says, the Russian political system would have remained corporatist rather than personalist and the system would be “much stronger than it is today,” and both the elites and the country would have been better off (

By doing so, the elite would have opened the war for Russia not to become a liberal democracy but rather “to follow the path of Mexico or China with one party formally in power but with the person at the top constantly changing. That would have guaranteed at least a minimal competitiveness and development. But a different path was chosen.” 

According to Inozemtsev, “with Putin’s return to the Kremlin, the elite ignored the system in favor of the individual – and what we are seeing today is a logical consequence of that decision” in September 2011. “A single personality” has broken the system “and there is no doubt that it will lead Russia to collapse.”

That collapse will represent “a personal disaster” those who could have made a different decision,” he continues. And why they did not see how what they were doing would lead to a catastrophe “remains a big mystery.”

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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