Richard Sakwa‘s new book, The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism, and the Medvedev Succession (Cambridge University Press, 2011), comes at a moment in Russian political history when uncertainty is once again in the headlines and on the lips of experts and journalists. While Sakwa’s book is principally about how Dmitri Medvedev became Russia’s third President, The Crisis of Russian Democracy is more importantly an analysis of the institutions and dynamics that animate Russian politics today.
Editor's Note: Richard N. Haass, formerly Director of Policy Planning in the U.S.
A surprising number of elections and political transitions is scheduled to occur over the coming months. An incomplete list includes Russia, China, France, the United States, Egypt, Mexico, and South Korea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin presented Russia's new cabinet on May 21 after weeks of intense speculation. Putin appears to have kept loyalists in key posts which may block any reformist agenda. Some longtime stalwarts, like Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov hold onto their posts. RFE/RL Moscow correspondent Tom Balmforth takes a closer look at the roster of ministers.
China’s central government says that the activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng is a free man, and has promised him an investigation of the harrowing abuses he suffered at the hands of guards here. Mr. Chen’s desperate escape last month from persecution to American protection has embarrassed China’s leaders and cast new shadows on their commitment to the rule of law.
The new organisational structure of the government will likely be announced within two to three days of the formal appointment of Medvedev as PM. Ministerial appointments, according to Vedomosti, will happen in steps in the subsequent 2 weeks, so do not expect a one-shot type of event.