an area of the map for world news.
March 2002 issue of
World Press Review
(VOL. 49, No. 3)
Go West, Young Man
finished his second year as Russian president at the end of
December, resisting the typical sophomores slump. An unknown
when appointed by his ailing predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, Putin
emerged in 2001 as a major world leader. Having won popular
election to the presidency in March 2000, the former KGB officer
continues to enjoy widespread domestic supportan opinion
poll named him man of the year, and his approval rating hit
80 percent in November. Cynical as it may sound, war has
played a positive role in Vladimir Putins political career,
for the second time, wrote Yelena Tregubova in Kommersant
Vlast (Dec. 25). In 2000, the war in Chechnya basically
made him president. And in 2001, Moscow supported the U.S. military
operation in Afghanistan, which has made Putin one of the top
In a forum with Obshchaya Gazetas Anatoli Kostyukov
(Jan. 10), commentator Lilia Shevtsova observed that Putin em-barked
on a series of economic and legal reforms and set about establishing
new relations with the West. Yet these achievements, State Duma
deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov told Kostyukov, have come at
the cost of reduced personal freedoms: Most likely, [Putin]
sincerely...believes that only the concentration of authority
in one persons hands can rescue Russia from crisis.
Nevertheless, Putin won no accolades from traditional advocates
of the firm gripRussias communists. In Sovetskaya
Rossiya (Dec. 31), T.G. Avaliani asked what the president
had accomplished during his tenure and answered: Nothing.
Russias post-Sept. 11 alliance with the United States,
he wrote, will only call forth the enmity of the Islamic world
and give America an outpost against China.