There is an opinion in Russia – “If not Putin, then who?”. It is not difficult to guess that it arose and settled down during the reign of the Kremlin dictator. From year to year, the ruling party and the systemic opposition in Russia did everything to ensure that alternative candidates were covered in a negative light - either the crazy Zhirinovsky, or the useless Medvedev, or the communist leader Zyuganov, who offered radical ideas. All of them were or are part of the ruling power and carry out the functions clearly assigned to them, the main of which remains to strengthen the conviction of the people in the opinion - "If not Putin, then who?".
Offering a choice of alternative rulers who (at least until February 24) were worse than Putin and his United Russia, the Kremlin tried to emphasize that the current “tsar” is better not just because he is “ Putin”. “His deeds” allegedly “speak for themselves” and the propagandists emphasized the laws and improvements in Russia that had taken place over more than 20 years of rule by one man who was crazy about power.
Looking ahead, it should be noted that the owner of the Kremlin was never interested in the internal affairs of the people. According to Putin himself, his only important task was to maintain a balance between representatives of big business of the Russian Federation, law enforcement agencies, oligarchs, thereby enlisting their support. For this, he allowed them to plunder the country, annually increasing their capital.
Putin took over the leadership of the country at the very beginning of 2000, when the state had already completely switched from a planned to a market economy, survived two crises and the first Chechen war. He got Russia, which was striving to develop and could become a civilized state, attractive for world investments, a NATO member, a bulwark of stability and prosperity without much interference from the president or government. But at the helm was a Soviet Chekist, without proper education, who was taught to spy, find enemies within the system, recruit people in the camp of the enemy and “not forget your own”. It is worth noting that Putin, in fact, became Yeltsin's successor, moved from the post of acting president of Russia to his current position. His program did not even include a plan for the further development of the economy, except for a populist speech about “fighting poverty”.
One of his first orders, Putin effectively deprived Russia of its federal status, centralizing power in his hands. It should be recalled that the Russian state is a federation - a form of government in which parts of the state are state entities that have legally defined political independence within the federation. The system of the USA, Canada, Brazil, Germany and other countries works the same way. At the same time, in 2000, Putin signed a decree "On the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Federal District." As a result, at the beginning, 7, and then 8 (after the conquest of Chechnya, the occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia) “federal districts” were created: Central, Northwestern, Southern, Volga, Ural, Siberian, Far Eastern and North Caucasian. Each such “district” was assigned its own “mini-Putin”, who had a wide range of powers, in fact, giving him unlimited power in the regions. Such people - plenipotentiaries (from combinations of words plenipotentiary president) - were personally appointed by the president of the Russian Federation, that is, Putin. Their term of office was limited only to “the term of the reign of the President of Russia” or “by a decree on their removal from office by the head of state”. Each envoy had to have a deputy, who was also appointed from the Kremlin, but in this case, the responsibility was entrusted to the head of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation. It is not surprising that the first people appointed to these positions were representatives of the power structures of the USSR / RF: Kazantsev V.G. (Southern Federal District) and Pulikovsky K.B.. (Far Eastern Federal District) - generals of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation who took part in the Chechen war; Poltavchenko G.S. (Central Federal District) and Cherkesov V.V. (North-Western Federal District) - previously served in the KGB; Latyshev P.M. (Ural Federal District) - former head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Perm (USSR) and ex-deputy minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (RF). From this list of "Putin's reliable people" only Kiriyenko S.V. stood out. (Privolzhsky Federal District) former head of the government of the Russian Federation under Yeltsin and Drachevsky L.V.. (Siberian Federal District) Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, also under Boris Yeltsin. They had nothing to do with law enforcement agencies, however, they were part of the "Family" - the entourage of the first president of the Russian Federation. As you know, during the transfer of power from Yeltsin to Putin, there were agreements on the inviolability of the “Family”, their assets. Apparently, Drachevsky and Kiriyenko could become part of this deal. Thus, Putin, a week after his appointment, began the path to dictatorship, locking all power in the country to himself.
In 2001, the Kremlin dictator issued a decree "On political parties", which now prescribed restrictions within the parties, their structure, the right to participate in elections, funding criteria, and settled the issues of their powers in relation to the government. In particular, the law spelled out a “ban on extremism”. During the so-called "Putin's fight against terrorism" such restrictions seemed logical. However, for a long time, the law was amended, which eventually led to the possibility of banning any party, referring to “extremism”. Political extremism involves provoking riots, terrorist acts and waging guerrilla warfare.. Apparently, Putin decided that Navalny’s party, which wanted to register for the elections to the State Duma, led people to peaceful protests against the tyranny of the Kremlin, performed all these actions – naturally, there is no evidence for this, as well as precedents. Just an amendment to the law "On Political Parties" made it possible for Putin to block absolutely all political forces that are not under his control and that seek to destroy the cannibalistic regime of his government. Thus, the Kremlin tyrant began his personal process of suppressing freedoms in Russia.
Also, in 2001, Putin carried out a “judicial reform”. Now, personally, he had to appoint supreme and federal judges. Municipal, rural, county, etc. judges have already been chosen by colleges of “lawyers” of higher instances. That is, the “judicial reform” closed one more institution on a single person - the President of the Russian Federation. By the way, the Chairman of the Supreme Court of Russia is Vyacheslav Lebedev. He has held this position since 1991.. Before that, Lebedev was chairman of the Supreme Court of the RSFSR. Apparently in this “frame”, Putin is one hundred percent sure and still believes that “the Soviet court, the most humane court in the world”, as it obeys the “humane will” of the government.
Vyacheslav Lebedev - Chairman of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation
Concluding power in his hands, the dictator decided to "fight corruption." To do this, in 2003 he created the "Council under the President of the Russian Federation to Combat Corruption". It included the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, the Chairman of the Federation Council, the Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly, the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, the Chairman of the Supreme Court and the Chairman of the Supreme Arbitration Court. All these people are appointed either by the President of the Russian Federation, or by people authorized by the President of the Russian Federation to appoint other people to their positions. The “Anti-Corruption Council” formally had no power. According to the law, it was supposed to take place in the format of a meeting, to listen to the Prosecutor General's report on "the current state of corruption in the country," and Putin listened to the report on the work of the Council. At the same time, the meeting was not supposed to give real examples of crimes and check the work of their wards, who fought or actually pretended to fight corruption. That is, “progress reports” from the Prosecutor General and council members could be printed by third parties the day before the meeting, because in fact, no one checked it. Two bodies derived from the Council were the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Commission for the Resolution of Conflicts of Interest, whose members were also appointed by Putin. Their tasks, in fact, included collecting information about officials of lower ranks (except military ones) and transmitting this information to the Council, that is, to Putin. In the future, he could already decide either to judge a person because he began to engage in corruption without his knowledge, or to postpone the “daddy with the case” until the time when the person decides to go against his will. Everything is in the best traditions of the KGB. That is, after the conclusion of power over the governing bodies, Putin collected dirt on every significant politician and official in the country in order to control and have leverage in the future. However, corruption has not disappeared.. Moreover, the people in power understood the method by which the "chief" works - "you can do whatever you want, just be loyal to the current government and share the stolen goods with his entourage."
Thus, having subjugated all legislative and executive power, Putin established his dictatorship in Russia. And this happened during his first presidential term. Subsequently, based on the events in the country, amendments were made to the basic laws on the centralization of power and supplemented by other decrees.. As a result, Putin changed the constitution, extended the presidential term to 7 years. The government of the Russian Federation easily increased the retirement age by 5 years, with a ban on early retirement (does not apply to law enforcement agencies), although before that, Putin almost swore that he would not raise the retirement age. Rallies were banned, and participants in single-person pickets, which formally remain not banned, began to be detained under far-fetched pretexts. Criminal liability was introduced for the so-called “reposts” and now law enforcement agencies could come to the citizens of the Russian Federation for copying information objectionable to the political regime on the Internet. A ban was introduced on the adoption of children by Americans, apparently so that the population of the Russian Federation would not decrease, and parents would not begin to implement schemes for fictitious adoption, and would not run away to the United States after their children. A law was issued on the so-called "subsistence farm" and now all Russians who had at their disposal cattle or small cattle, poultry, furs, gardens, were equated with private entrepreneurs and began to be taxed. As for taxes, they began to grow every year for small businesses, and also, on a regular basis, new categories of taxes were created, which in total obliged entrepreneurs, in some cases, to give up to 50% to the state and everything for the sake of the interests of large businesses, which led by Putin's friends. From year to year, for no apparent reason, they began to raise utilities, despite the fact that the price of export hydrocarbons was constantly growing and there were no reasons for inflation and an increase in the cost of a communal apartment (at least until 2008). Hundreds of laws began to be adopted to please the authorities, to strengthen the position of the oligarchs, in order to preserve Putin's presidency.
Having built a vertical of power, focusing on foreign policy, the master of the Kremlin allowed his entourage to focus on developing the country's resources, including human resources.. As a result, the number of schools began to decline every year, the death rate increased, the birth rate fell, social benefits were either abolished or reduced. Due to corruption, which has reached unimaginable proportions, pits on the roads have not been repaired for years, and in most of the expanses of the “immense country”, asphalt pavement has not been laid. Promised rail links, including those initiated by Putin himself, were never completed. But the railway was supposed to be for many settlements the only communication with the cities in the winter months of the year. Villages began to die out due to the lack of any provision for them.
The country, not having time to get out of the Soviet stagnation, plunged into an even greater crisis, where crime and military service became the only alternative to poverty for the population living outside the big cities. During his reign, Putin did nothing good for the people. The “merits” of the owner of the Kremlin can be considered the creation of a vertical of power, which has almost unlimited possibilities if it is completely loyal to the ruling party and higher authorities, in which the people act as cheap, and sometimes free labor, or consumables.