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Vladimir Putin - Leadership Style

Ilya Matveev noted 21 November 2016: "Putin’s style of governance has always assumed, on the one hand, the elimination of independent players, and, on the other, the encouragement of competition between dependent players. Here, Putin acts as a referee between them, making his role irreplaceable."

Autocratic leadership is a form of management where one leader typically has complete control over a work area or project. An autocratic style of leadership can be effective where decisions need to be made quickly. The sole responsibility rests with the leader, and he makes the decision without the need to consult others. The Czar was "Autocrat of All the Russias". Real Russian men saw in autocracy and orthodoxy the pillars of the Empire. But eventually the respect for authority was destroyed by persistence in arbitrary rule. License is the worst foe of liberty. Arbitrary power was the deadly enemy of authority.

By 2016 Putin dictated the terms. Puting alone made decisions in Moscow to act, while Obama presided over committees in Washington that dithered for months to decide to do nothing. He took the risks and reaped the rewards. He sought to show that Moscow was a more reliable ally than ambivalent Obama's Washington. In conflicts around the world, Obama and Putin sparred for advantage. Putin had a big one: Time. Obama played not to lose any more diplomatic or military ground to an aggressive adversary bent on reasserting a Soviet-style sphere of influence.

Roger Cohen wrote 12 October 2015 : "One way to define Barack Obama’s foreign policy is as a Doctrine of Restraint. It is clear, not least to the Kremlin, that this president is skeptical of the efficacy of military force, wary of foreign interventions that may become long-term commitments, convinced the era of American-imposed solutions is over, and inclined to see the United States as less an indispensable power than an indispensable partner. He has, in effect, been talking down American power. President Vladimir Putin has seized on this profound foreign policy shift in the White House."

Russian President Vladimir Putin is the product of the harsh geopolitical reality of Russia, a country in political and strategic retreat in the vast Eurasian theater. He is the faithful son of Russia’s tormented history and its Slavic Orthodox Christian civilization which Putin believes it endows it with a unique role in history and the world. This is Putin’s version of Russian exceptionalism. For Putin, the demise of the Soviet Union did not alter the old fundamental realities of international relations, where raw power matters, and where geography can sometimes be destiny. Putin’s feet are deeply planted in the 19th century.

At exhibition organized by the All-Russia People’s Front in late November 2014, Putin said: “Politeness together with arms can get you far more than politeness alone.” President Vladimir Putin said on 29 August 2014 that Russia’s armed forces, backed by its nuclear arsenal, were ready to meet any aggression, declaring at a pro-Kremlin youth camp that foreign states should understand: “It’s best not to mess with us.” Vladimir Putin and his propaganda machine have hammered home the old notion dating back to Stalin, that Russia is surrounded by enemies while agents within the country collaborate with these enemies.

Putin is a difficult character to study. An ex-KGB colonel, he is at times deliberately indistinct. And his secretive and tight-knit court tends to operate according to the Old Russian village principle of “Do not carry rubbish out of the hut.” Arriving into the presidency in 2000 Putin declared his goal as the ‘dictatorship of law’, and indeed this principle was exercised in the attempt to overcome the legal fragmentation of the country in the federal system; but when it came to pursuing regime goals, it appeared more often than not that the system ruled by law rather than ensuring the rule of law. Putin came to power intent on restoring the state, heir to a tradition in which the state itself represented both the highest aspiration of the society for survival in conditions of adversity. Putin says young Russians are suffering from a moral vacuum left by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Putin's behavior is that of a strict and task oriented indiidual, obsessively driven by his own vision and ideology. This behavioral preference influences his management and leadership style, negotiating style, strategic and crisis decision making. Putin won respect for doing what he said, for standing strong for what he believed. Putin is seen as has having his allies’ back. He stands with his friends and when he takes a decision, he sticks with it whatever obstacles are strewn in his path. Those are admirable qualities in anyone, but essential in a successful leader. His team members very loyal to him because he is a strong leader and make them fill strong as well.

Brian Whitmore wrote August 11, 2016 "For most of Putin's long rule, he was essentially the front man for an oligarchic elite -- the so-called "collective Putin" -- that effectively ruled Russia. Like the Soviet general secretaries, Putin was first among equals, to be sure. He was the key figure and the decider. But he had to find consensus and balance among the Kremlin's competing clans and among the dozen or so figures in his "politburo." But we don't hear much about the "collective Putin" or "Putin's Politburo" anymore. And that is because in recent years, the Kremlin leader has moved away from a collective leadership model to one centered on the leader himself."

"If until recently, the system acted in the interests of the bureaucracy, now, it does so ever more in the interests of the leader... Putin's legitimacy objectively reduces the role of the bureaucracy, transforming it into a tool," Moscow-based political analyst Nikolai Petrov, head of the Center for Political-geographical research, wrote in Vedomosti 08 August 2016. According to Petrov, Putin is effectively abandoning an elite personnel policy resembling Leonid Brezhnev's "stability of cadres" approach and toward one reminiscent of Josef Stalin's -- minus, of course, the mass executions of ousted officials. A "great leap backward has been made in the last couple of years, after which an elite system features has become much smaller, and more and personnel system can be rightfully called neo-nomenklaturnoy. ... In Soviet times it was a collective leadership, in ours - a more personalized power vertical, closed on the person of the president.... all sorts of allowances, bonuses, cars, apartments and a degree of immunity, can be deprived in whole or in part, in violation of the rules.... the centralization and regional and corporate planes, and a general decline in the flexibility of the system design reduces its adaptability to changes in the external environment and the ability to move."

On February 10, Fiona Hill testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Russia’s foreign policy and security challenges to the United States and its Western allies. "Although there is a collective leadership around Putin, and there are people in that collective with different conceptions of what Russian policy at home and abroad should be, Russia’s leadership system has been hyper-personalized since Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012. Between 2008-2012, during Putin’s political tandem with Dmitry Medvedev, when Putin was prime minister and Medvedev was president, the system was much more pluralized. Since the two switched places, the decision-making circle in Moscow has been pared down.... A centralized military and political command center—the Stavka, the high command in Russian—has been created in Moscow. All information on critical security and political issues is fed in to a small group of people around Putin, and key decisions seem to be taken within that group.... There are no significant checks and balances on Putin’s presidential power. As Russian president, he has no larger institutional arrangements or political party beneath or behind him like Soviet-era leaders did with the politburo and the Communist Party. "

The Economist editorialized 03 October 2016 undr the title "Putin dares, Obama dithers" about " ... the vacuum created by Barack Obama’s attempt to stand back from the wars of the Muslim world. America’s president told the UN General Assembly this week that his country had learned it “cannot by itself impose stability on a foreign land”; .... Obama is not entirely wrong. But his proposition hides many dangers: that America throws up its hands; that regional powers, sensing American disengagement, will be sucked into a free-for-all; and that Russia’s intervention will make a bloody war bloodier still. "

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Page last modified: 21-11-2016 12:15:33 ZULU