Russia: February 12, 2004


President Vladimir Putin has become very popular because of his strong rule and attempt to suppress corruption and crime. But Putin also plays to the Russian desire to get back the "Great Power" status Russia had when the Soviet Union existed. Putin knows that Russia has neither the military or economic power to get that status back. But his anti-corruption campaign has led to steady economic growth and he is pushing military reforms that would rebuild the military. A strong economy is necessary for a strong military, but Putin is pushing higher status for the now discredited military. Playing on the popularity of Russia's past glories, Putin has gotten laws past to provide more money for the military, a reintroduction of political officers (to go after corrupt practices for now) and an attempt to revive mandatory military training for male high school students.


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