Russia’s new czar is at work. The difference, however, is that Vladimir Putin is no new face. He is back to the presidency for a third term and that too for six years. Putinisation of Russia, as it is widely called, has come full circle. Though the elections that brought him back were marked with controversy, nothing much will matter for Putin, as he knows how to take the bull in governance.
The task before him would be to use the chauvinism card and play to the gallery. His vision of Eurasia and his plan to take Russia to new heights of glory has already won him a constituency. From the ultra-right to the conservatives, all see him as a re-doer of a new Russia and a mentor and go-getter in locking horns with the West. This nationalism episode is bound to see new developments as Putin scraps much of the complicity and compromises that his handpicked incumbent, Dmitry Medvedev, had managed to strike in his term as president.
Putin will be calling the shots at a time when much has changed. Russia today has an effective civil society and people really care for the fundamentals of the state. Human rights, access to civil liberties and a free Press are indispensable — and can no more be brushed aside as a ploy of the West to weaken the socialist edifice. Putin has to address the concerns of the civil strife brewing in his backyard and build an edifice of confidence and trust in the institutions of the state. Other than the presidency, there is hardly any other hallmark of state power. Putin in his third-term can do well by strengthening national institutions and buoying the infant civil society.