Vladimir Putin: 20 years in power

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the appointment of the then unknown politician Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister of Russia. In 2000 he became president and ever since he has kept the reins of power firmly in his grip. Russian observers describe how the country has changed in the two decades under his rule.

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Wedomosti (RU) /

Better not to take stock now

Vedomosti believes Putin's best days are over:

“Since Putin clearly has no intention of disappearing and avoids all talk of the future, he is also not inclined to take stock of the results of his time in power - and certainly not right now. On this milestone date he has no trump up his sleeve: he reached the peak of his fame and popularity five years ago. Today he must talk about sanctions, economic and social problems, Siberian forests, arctic dumping grounds and burning ammunition depots. What is happening in Siberia is incomprehensible and no one is interested in Ukraine anymore, and now there's the protests in the centre of Moscow. In such an atmosphere anniversary celebrations would only provoke criticism from all sides.”

newsru.com (RU) /

What a pleasant country it was back then

In a Facebook post published by newsru.com publisher Dmitry Travin looks back to the year 1999:

“This is the first year of economic growth triggered by reforms. ... Russia has many problems, but they are being calmly discussed. ... There is arguing about how to bring the country forward instead of about how to survive in a world hostile to it. No one believes that everyone is plotting against us. Everyone understands that we were weak for a decade and that if our enemies had wished to they could have destroyed us long ago. But instead of starting a world war our 'enemies' talk to us about how they can help us with our reforms. All in all, however, the world doesn't really care about us. What with China's ascent, who worries about Russia? ... Back then no one knew that there was a man sitting in the Kremlin who would change all that.”