As a case, Russia off ers valuable insights into the dynamics of an authoritarian system. Its political system has changed dramatically since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, but initial hopes that it would become a democracy have been dashed as President Vladimir Putin has strengthened his grip. The Soviet heritage is still clear in Russian political culture, the rules of the political system have been changed, and understanding that system is often less a matter of appreciating constitutional formalities than it is of grasping the political psychology of Putin. Russia may have moved away from a one-party communist system to a multi-party capitalist system, but the offi ce of the presidency is powerful, both the legislature and regional governments have been reduced to supporting institutions, and the Russian model of federalism is one that is dominated by the centre. More and signifi cant changes are undoubtedly yet to come.
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