The Foreign Service Journal, April 2007

A P R I L 2 0 0 7 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 19 ussian President Vladimir Putin had two overarching goals when he succeeded Boris Yeltsin in 2000, goals he has continued to pursue for seven years. First and foremost, he wants to rebuild the Russian state. By destroying communism, Yeltsin had allowed democracy to flourish as never before in Russian his- tory, but at a price Putin deemed unacceptable: Moscow’s authority over much of the country had been seriously undermined. F O C U S O N R U S S I A U NDERSTANDING V LADIMIR P UTIN W HILE HE SHARES THE K REMLIN ’ S TRADITIONAL PREFERENCE FOR CENTRALIZING POWER , P UTIN ’ S APPROACH DIFFERS FROM THAT OF HIS PREDECESSORS . B Y D ALE H ERSPRING R Ben Fishman