Twice in the winter of 1999-2000, citizens of the Russian Federation flocked to their neighborhood voting stations and scratched their ballots in an atmosphere of uncertainty, rancor, and fear. This book is a tale of these two elections -one for the 450-seat Duma, the other for President.
Despite financial crisis, a national security emergency in Chechnya, and cabinet instability, Russian voters unexpectedly supported the status quo. The elected lawmakers prepared to cooperate with the executive branch, a gift that had eluded President Boris Yeltsin since he imposed a post-Soviet constitution by referendum in 1993. When Yeltsin retired six months in advance of schedule, the presidential mantle went to Vladimir Putin -a career KGB officer who fused new and old ways of doing politics. Putin was easily elected President in his own right.
This book demonstrates key trends in an extinct superpower, a troubled country in whose stability, modernization, and openness to the international community the West still has a huge stake.