Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Vladimir Putin won reelection as President in March 2004 in an exercise in managed democracy in which he took 71 of the vote and faced no serious competition. The pro-Putin Unified Russia party similarly swept the parliamentary election in December 2003 and controls more than two-thirds of the seats in the Duma. Putins twin priorities remain to revive the economy and strengthen the state. He has brought TV and radio under tight state control and virtually eliminated effective political opposition. Federal forces have suppressed large-scale military resistance in Chechnya and in 2006 succeeded in killing most of the remaining top Chechen rebel military and political leaders. The economic upturn that began in 1999 is continuing. The GDP and domestic investment are growing impressively after a long decline, fueled in large part by profits from oil and gas exports. Inflation is contained, the budget is balanced, and the ruble is stable. Major problems remain 18 of the population live below the poverty line, foreign investment is low, and crime, corruption, capital flight, and unemployment remain high.
- Government and Political Science