Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury, an Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House. Member of the Valdai Discussion Club.
Previous positions: the Moscow Mir Publishing House dealing with science and technology (1980-1982), lecturer at the university of California, Santa Cruz (1982-1987).
Research interests: Soviet and post-communist Russian politics, problems of democratic development in Russia and other post-Soviet states, as well as the global challenges facing the former communist countries.
Selected publications: published widely on Soviet, Russian and post-communist affairs. Recent books include: “Postcommunism“ (1999), “Contextualising Secession: Normative Aspects of Secession Struggles“ (2003) (co-edited with Bruno Coppieters) “Putin: Russia’s Choice“(2004), “Chechnya: From Past to Future“ (2005), “Russian Politics and Society“ (2008),“The Quality of Freedom: Khodorkovsky, Putin and the Yukos Affair“ (2009). He is currently working on“The Dual State in Russia: Factionalism and the Medvedev Succession“.
A grey cardinal, a con artist, fortune’s darling, the face of the era – Russian and foreign experts agree on one thing: the late Boris Berezovsky was an extraordinary and at the same time contradictory man.
Berezovsky is an extreme example of the contradictions of Russia's move towards a capitalist democracy. On the one side he was one of the leaders of the new business class, while on the other he demonstrated the inability of this new business class, the so-called oligarchs in the 1990s, to subordinate themselves to the rule of law.
Putin has succeeded Yeltsin as a modern leader who renewed the old partocratic elites, becoming a fresh face in the Russian politics. Today he is becoming a representative of the older generation, which is not a tragedy in itself, as statecraft largely comes from experience.
Putin is back, but this is a different Putin and a different country. Putin certainly retains many of his former characteristics, and those who hoped for a ‘Putin 2.0’ to return to the presidency in May 2012 have been disappointed. If anything, the changes in Putin have been only the intensification of previous traits.
After 7 May Medvedev will move to the White House, and his concerns then will focus on economic and social issues. Medvedev will continue to act as a moderating force within the regime, but his modernising aspirations will come to nothing unless they are reinforced either by presidential or popular support.
Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin is the most significant representative of the so-called “siloviki” hardline faction inside the Kremlin. For over a decade, his career has been both shaped and assured by close association with Vladimir Putin.
Half-Chechen, one-time aide to Khodorkovsky, sometime novelist and current-day political technician, Vladislav Surkov’s life story lacks anything but colour. Yet the adjectives most usually attributed to his political figure are “grey” and “shadowy”.