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Thursday, 23 December, 1999, 13:13 GMT
Is Putin good for Russia?

As the results of the Russian parliamentary elections come in, it's good news for Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin.

Russia at the Polls
What's at stake
Who's who
Russia's regions
But is this really a sign of public confidence in his leadership or is it a result of careful political manoeuvring by the Kremlin?

The results are likely to provide a massive boost to Putin's bid to succeed Boris Yeltsin as president next year. Do you think he is the man that can help Russia or is he riding dangerously on the back of nationalist fervour amassed during the military operation in Chechnya?

Is Putin good for Russia?

Putin reminds me of a SS officer. We should not forget that this man is a secret services agent and that he is ready, as he is doing now, to put a country on fire to remain in power.
Malti Djallal, France

Putin is essentially a "dark horse", since he spent most of his career in the ranks of secret service. Yet still he made a very good impression on his first public post in St. Petersburg. He made no mistakes during his premiership, he is no fascist, no communist and no friend of Saddam. So far, you can't blame him in anything, and for his campaign in Chechnya we should give him an ovation.
Arik, Israel

Let us have hope that President Putin can help Russia to become a proud and worthy partner with us to establish a terror-free, constructive world in which ordinary people can have a better life.
Brother Larry Backus, USA
Putin is definitely good for Russia for several reasons: 1.) He is not a Communist and he supports the continuation of economical reforms, 2.) He is unifying the nation and thus might have authority over controversial questions such as the free sale of land, which the Communists were powerful enough not to let through the legislature. Aren't these the points of the economical agenda the West urged Russia to follow? Why is it so scared now, when Russia came closer to fulfilling them and farther from civil war than ever? If the West, primarily Great Britain and the United States, gets over the instinct of fearing anything that makes Russia powerful, it will realise that Putin is good for Russia and the outside world alike.
Andrej, Russia

I think what Putin is the first man who is deeply thinking about future of Russia. Therefore, he is very good for Russia.
Peter, USA

Putin is a clever and crafty man and Russia has never really changed. They are they are still the same. A giant of a country that represses its people. Unfortunately, it never will.
Dave Adams, USA

Putin and his puppet masters are leading the Russian people into further death and chaos. He has attempted to mimic Milosevic in betting that the Russians will be as gullible as the Serbs in letting nationalistic tirades drown out the grumblings of their own hunger.
Bora Bariman, Turkey

I think that Vladimir Putin is one of the best Russian leaders today. And if Russia wins in the Chechnya conflict, his popularity will increase.
Alexander, Russia
I am growing increasingly convinced that the current war in Chechnya was engineered by Kremlin insiders. Perhaps not Yeltsin or Putin themselves, but those in the so-called family.
John Semlak, US

People around the world blame Putin for what they are doing in Chechnya. Is it wrong to think about security of the people of Russia. I believe militants around the world should be handled the same way. I think Putin will be successful in his mission
Sanjay, India

Mr. Putin would be a popular US politician, in my opinion, so why wouldn't he be good for Russian? Patriotic leaders with a war usually, help the local economy, if they can find funding. High oil prices is giving Russia some extra money to help gain back lost territory. This is over oil anyway. Islam's don't understand that Russia is using OPEC price hikes to get more money to gain more Islam land. Russia gain more oil fields then it has more money for it's military. Russia left Afghanistan because it wasn't worth it.
Henry Horschel, USA

I think that Putin and the Unity party are promising not only to Russia but to Europe as well. We must give this party the chance to prove itself before we criticise it. The alleged "nationalist" policy of the Unity party is something that we really shouldn't worry about. Russia's national territory is at stake here. American nationalism under Nixon and Kissenger, and later Reagan and his Republicans was by far more harmful in the world of international relations than Putin and his Unity party will ever be. Let's not forget Reagan's policies in Central America and the Middle East, and Nixon's policies in southern Europe and Chile.
AG, Greece

Putin is definitely not good for Russia or anyone else. He is the harbinger of fascism in Russia that has long been coming.
Jeff Jones, USA
Putin is definitely not good for Russia or anyone else. He is the harbinger of fascism in Russia that has long been coming. The only true economic growth in Russia is in the realm of military productions and now Putin has found a nice nationalistic cause to continue the militarisation of Russia. Meanwhile economic misery continues. Russia's future is bleak and consequently, so is that of the rest of the region and world.
Jeff Jones, USA

Putin is not good for Russia nor the world and obviously not good for Chechnya.
Russ Donnelly, USA

The Russians are hardly spoiled for choice are they? Putin has emerged from nowhere to use the nationalist card and head straight for the Presidency. Apart from the sad state of political affairs this shows, there seems little to commend him at present except his ability to gain the backing of those who care nothing for the victims of war and prefer fantasies of military strength to the realities of establishing a reasonable standard of living for everyone living in the world's largest country.
Tony Matthews, UK

Can anything be worse than Yeltsin or communists for Russia? Between wars for popularity and cold wars I think the Russian people are right to choose Putin.
Michael Dawson, UK / USA

Putin will be good for Russia, its neighbours and its OPPRESSED minorities if he changes his direction 180 degrees. Russian nationalism-gone-mad in its oppression of Chechnya is a sign of closed-mindedness. Russians need to come to terms with the fact that their empire has now declined. Future Afghanistan's and Chechens are going to further bleed Russia to its death. Change your tactics Mr. Putin.
Daud Sharif, US via Pakistan

It is so hard to recognise what man is he. In Russia politicians like to make smart faces and speak and speak and make theirs pockets fill up, but don't do their business. They all look smart and active, but when they get power and when they become a president, suddenly theirs activity disappears somewhere. I hope Putin is not such a person and I want to see him as a president of our country.
NS, Russia

People like Putin or Yelstin and their politics are no good for Russia. They can not deliver. The only way is the return of communism in a new and democratic form
Abbas Jalbani, Pakistan

For Russia to move into the 21st Century it needs to have a strong powerful leader that would encourage peace, free enterprise and democracy! The people must move away from Communism. It would be unfair for the younger generation of Russia to bring it back!
Richard, Wales

Yes. Putin is a strong leader who supports liberal economic reforms and will also safeguard Russian national interests. For the West, exactly because of that, he might not be a desirable candidate for presidency as it is in the western interests to keep Russian weak and stable. The way Putin handles western pressure over Chechnya just showed that he will not be easily bullied. The other fact that most of economic liberals support him shows that Putin is the right person to succeed Yeltsin.
Dmitri, New Zealand

I have been following the political events in Russia for a long time and I am sure that Mr Putin is the best leader Russia ever had in this century. Mr Yeltsin, who impoverished ordinary Russians, did not enjoy so much western criticism during several years he has been in office as Mr Putin got these last months. Not only do western politicians and journalists feel uncomfortable about very well planned military operation in Chechnya, they do know that it will raise Mr Putin's popularity and that in turn could strengthen his grip on power to bring peace, economic prosperity to Russian people. That is the main driving force of a very strange alliance between Chechen militants and western leaders, human rights activists, and journalists.
Victor Mishenko, Ukraine

As a student of Russia with some experience living there and studying her enigmatic ways, i only see this as yet another power struggle that will keep Russia at the periphery of world politics. The main point is there is no point, no agenda. Russia has so long lived at the whim of the personalities at the top. Sure Mr. Putin may be strong, he may be efficient, but citizens should not have to rely on the will, or good nature, of a leader for there own well-being. Sound and fury, nothing really different.
Matthew Jones, USA

Putin may be good for boosting fledging Russian moral, but he is definitely not good for the rest of the world. Anyone who plays the Russian Nationalism card the way he has, is a serious threat to Global peace, and regional stability. Nationalism is on the rise in Russia in a big way, many people in the world are still fairly asleep with what is actually going on in Russia, still thinking that the cold war is over and everything is hunky dory. The simple point is that until Russia stops and takes stock of what is the reality of loosing superpower status, Russia is a bigger threat than they ever were during the cold war. Most of the ex-Soviet republics are petrified with the rhetoric coming out from the Kremlin. I also believe that Chechnya holds the key to how Russia will go, if they win then that will be a huge catalyst to the nationalism card, if they lose, well they really will have to address the realities of post cold war Russia.
Zafar Nadeem, England

The Falkland war was used by Mrs. Thatcher to make a come back despite her growing unpopularity. It appears that Mr. Putin is learning from Mrs. Thatcher's legacy. As to whether he is the right man for the job is a different matter - good leaders succeed without resorting to savage political manoeuvring.
James Partridge, USA

The Russian government is so corrupt that it's hard to see any political future for the country - certainly no chance of any "new blood". The Chechen war is an insult to the good people of Russia. Sadly it will be the people, not the leaders, who pay for this evil.
Stiopa, UK

Putin seems to young and knowledgeable in the ways of government in Russia. I trust that he is strong enough to resist the corruption, and pitfalls of power. If he is then with his knowledge of how the world works, who the political players are, and his willingness to work hard for the good of the Russian people he will be good for Russia. We will all be praying for his success as a leader of so many good Russian people
Larry, USA

Yes. I think he's the right choice at least people will get rid of the old man!
Saima Ahsan, Pakistan

I do not follow Russian issues in depth, but the proof of good government should be evident in the living standards of the people it serves. The fact that he has managed to win support for a military campaign against the much loathed Chechens is no yardstick of good government. I am waiting for the day that the average Russian can feed, clothe and house him/herself by their own efforts, without having to resort to crime and corruption.
Tom, Australia

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See also:
20 Dec 99 |  Europe
Analysis: How Unity helps Putin
20 Dec 99 |  Europe
Poll boost for Russian PM

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