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    BRITISH POLITICAL SCIENTIST ON PUTIN'S PHENOMENON

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    LONDON, March 16, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Smotrov) - Conclusions about the authoritarian presidential power in Russia come from those, who have no clear idea about the situation in the country, expert of the London School of Economics Dr. James Hughes said in a RIA Novosti interview.

    "It is not that Putin's supposed 'authoritarianism' is any greater than that practised under Yeltsin, it is simply a misperception that arises from four factors: firstly, Putin is a more effective leader who has managed to integrate the elites in a political order and in a political party much more comprehensively that Yeltsin was able to; secondly, Putin has established a more organised, coherent, and responsive vertical 'order' in the state system by relying less on ideologues and more on technocrats and securocrats; thirdly, the Putin administration is less corrupt than the Yeltsin regime and less tolerant of 'family' influence in high politics and the mass media (this explains the clampdown against oligarchs such as Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky - by the way the attack on the oligarchs is positive for the development of real entrepreneurialism in Russia since these people were far from being entrepreneurs, but achieved their wealth through insider political contacts and criminal activities.

    Cleaning up the oligarchic system, which was installed by Yeltsin with a great deal of support from the West, is an Augean task which will take time; fourthly, Putin is more proactive in defending Russia's national interests, especially against the US and the EU, compared with the Yeltsin regime - thus he attracts Western criticism.

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