Power in Russia’s authoritarian political system is concentrated in the hands of President Vladimir Putin. With loyalist security forces, a subservient judiciary, a controlled media environment, and a legislature consisting of a ruling party and pliable opposition factions, the Kremlin is able to manipulate elections and suppress genuine dissent. Rampant corruption facilitates shifting links among bureaucrats and organized crime groups.https://freedomhouse.org/country/russia/freedom-world/2020
How has Russia gotten so far with its illiberal cultural and political program for the west?
Start here —
Schindler, John. “Exploring Al Qaeda’s Murky Connection To Russian Intelligence.” Business Insider, June 10, 2014.
Then try this —
Oppenheim, James S. “FTAC: Reinforcement: Reflexive Control: Islamic Terrorism and Perceived Threat –> Newest Nationalism and Renewed Feudal Conflict.” BackChannels, April 2018.
Add “Active Measures” and have a look at this blog’s post, “Russian Active Measures, Donald Trump, and Either Evil or Gullible Americans (Or Both)” (July 22, 2020).
Not only is Russia not free, it is also not in any meaningful sense “productive” beyond its resource exporting businesses that account for about $281.5 billion of its overall exports. It has conflated itself with mafia (see, for example, Leonid Nevzlin’s “The Result of 20 Years of Putin: Russia as a Mafia State,” Institute of Modern Russia, January 24, 2020) and become a spirit dampening oligarchic estate that has brought ordinary Russians — damaged by corruption, under-served by government — out to protest in the face of state arrests and brutality.
In Russia, the robber barons and thugs have won their state, but the same appear to be losing the hearts and minds of Russians who have not themselves experienced the privileges known to favorable association with the “Vertical of Power”.