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Politics & Government

SU Maxwell Prof and Author of Book on Vladimir Putin not Surprised at Undemocratic Russian Election

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Oxford University Press
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The Chair of the Political Science Department at Syracuse University, like many, finds the re-election victory of Russian President Vladimir Putin unsurprising.  Nor was it very democratic.  Brian Taylor just released his third book about Russian politics: “The Code of Putinism”.  He says, in fact, he was more excited about S-U’s win over Michigan State.

“So the SU basketball game was exciting, unpredictable and the underdog won; in Russia the results were boring, predictable and the favorite candidate won.  So in that sense it wasn’t really like an election because in a democracy you have certain rules and uncertain outcomes.  And in Russia you have uncertain rules and certain outcomes, which is Putin is going to win.”

Altogether, the Professor says Putin has been in charge for 18 years, which is Russia’s longest running leader since Joseph Stalin.  He says the political system there is controlled by a small group of people who call the shots.

“Much of what happens in Russia happens because of what Vladimir Putin thinks and feels and what the people around him think and feel about what is going on.  So if you want to understand Russian politics, you have to understand the leader at the top.”

That is precisely what Taylor intended to do with his new book.

“The effort is to decode him, to try to explain what he’s up to and hopefully make it possible for reader to understand what’s going on by getting a glimpse into what’s going on inside the Kremlin and inside the decision –making process of those people who rule the country.”

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Dr. Taylor discusses the relationship between the US and Russia, including nuclear arms issues and Russian politics.

In Taylor’s opinion, Putin doesn’t have a plan to improve the Russian economy, other than to wait and hope that world energy prices rise.  He traveled to Russia several times for five to six years to complete his latest book, speaking to Russians both inside and outside of politics.  Again the book is “The Code of Putinism.”