Condoleezza Rice released a coarse anti-Russian statement. This is because she is a single woman who has no children. She loses her reason because of her late single status. Nature takes it all.Anyway, that bit of Pravda-sourced nonsense aside, this paper by Clifford Gaddy and Andrew Kuchins which I found via the Brookings Institution extends Rice's brand of analysis which sees Russia using its resource clout for statist ends. Even if you are no fan of Rice as I am, this point should seem fairly obvious except maybe to Zhirinovsky. For some strange reason, I cannot cut-and-paste the good bits here; you'll have to open the PDF file yourselves. Still, it is filled with insights on how Putin's leadership style has been influenced by American authors William King and David Cleland. This stems from comparing Putin's practices with suggestions contained in the book of the aforementioned authors which Putin cites extensively in his economics postgraduate thesis on--get this--"Strategic Planning of the Reproduction of the Mineral Resource Base of a Region" [!] I hope that piques your interest in this fascinating paper. Here is the blurb accompanying it:
Such women are very rough. They are all workaholics, public workaholics. They can be happy only when they are talked and written about everywhere: “Oh, Condoleezza, what a remarkable woman, what a charming Afro-American lady! How well she can play the piano and speak Russian! What a courageous, tough and strong female she is!
Some of the uncertainty surrounding Russia's political future has passed. The December 2007 parliamentary elections are history, the presidential succession seems clear, and the range of options for Vladimir Putin's future role has been considerably narrowed. Yet, at each turn, other uncertainties remain and new ones arise.
In the eyes of most of the outside world, at least those of Europe and the United States, the Russian electoral process so far has failed to measure up to benchmarks of democracy and free choice of policies and personalities. Rather, this process has been about legitimizing the notion of entrusting the country's future to something called "Putin’s Plan," thus ensuring preyemstvennost' politiki (continuity of policy) beyond the scheduled end of Putin's term of office in May 2008.
What exactly is Putin's Plan, and from where does it come? What are its goals? What are its implications for Russia's domestic and international relations? [Read the paper and find out a bit more about possible answers to these questions.]