Reforming Intelligence: Russia's Failure
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The origins of today’s Russian intelligence services suggest that their transition to real democratic civilian control—which has yet to happen more than 15 years after communism’s fall and the Soviet Union’s breakup—is likely to be anything but easy. Russia, like most of the post-Soviet states, has failed to develop a well-institionalized democratic political system. Since the year 2000, when President Boris Yeltsin engineered the election of his chosen successor Vladimir Putin, the nearly failed Russian state of the 1990s has given way to a polity that lives under the domination of the executive branch. It is a cliché to mention the 16 years that President Putin spent working for the Soviet intelligence and security agency, the KGB, and the preferential treatment that he has accorded to its succesor agencies. What precisely is the place of these agencies in today’s Russian political system?
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