Director, Center on the United States and Europe, The Brookings Institution.
Fiona Hill is an expert and frequent commentator on Russia and the states of the former Soviet Union. Prior to assuming the leadership of the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings, she served as National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council.
For Putin, Syria is all too reminiscent of Chechnya. Both conflicts pitted the state against disparate and leaderless opposition forces, which over time came to include extremist Sunni Islamist groups. In Putin’s view - one that he stresses repeatedly in meetings with his U.S. and European counterparts - Syria is the latest battleground in a global, multi-decade struggle between secular states and Sunni Islamism
Was published in January 2013 by Brookings Institution Press and is a study of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personality viewed against a historical background. The book dispels widespread stereotypes and reveals the true mindset of the Russian leader. The preface to the book was written by Brookings President Strobe Talbott, former deputy of the US Secretary of State. The two authors of the book know Putin personally and have met him several times at the Valdai International Discussion Club, of which they are members.
The decision of the Russian government was unavoidable. This became obvious after the approval of the new law on foreign agents and other related changes in Russian legislation. And in addition, the Russian leadership has long accused the United States of financing the opposition.
The problem is, Putin can no longer really be many of the historic characters he tries to play. Putin is no longer the outsider trying to save and reform the system; he is now the system. He is not Stolypin. He is the Tsar, with others having to assume those roles to try to persuade and to advise him.
Putin, it seems, has embraced Pyotr Stolypin as the model for his current premiership and putative future presidency because Stolypin tried to accomplish the political, economic and social transformation of Russia through nonrevolutionary means. Putin’s favorite quote these days is, “We do not need great upheavals. We need a great Russia”.
In recent days, Russia has undergone a significant political shift, one that presents a great challenge to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s power as well as his potential for winning the upcoming presidential elections. The Russian political landscape is clearly at a turning point. Russia’s future trajectory will depend in large measure on how Prime Minister Putin reacts to these recent challenges to his power.