The Code of Putinism

Brian D Taylor (Author)


What is Vladimir Putin up to? This book shows how the mentality of Putin and his team - the code of Putinism - has shaped Russian politics over the past two decades. It explains not only the thoughts and ideas that motivate Putin's decisions, but also the set of emotions and habits that influence how Putin and his close allies view the world.
The code of Putinism has powerfully shaped the nature of Russia's political system, its economy, and its foreign policy. Taylor draws on a large number of interviews, the speeches of Putin and other top officials, and the Russian media to analyze the mentality of Team Putin. Key features of Russian politics today -- such as authoritarianism, Putin's reliance on a small group of loyal friends and associates, state domination of the economy, and an assertive foreign policy - are traced to the code of Putinism. Key ideas of the code include conservatism, anti-Americanism, and the importance of a state that is powerful both at home and abroad. Dominant habits of Putin and his associates include control, order, and loyalty. Important feelings driving Russia's rulers include the need for respect, resentment about lost status and mistreatment by the West, and vulnerability.

While some observers portray Putin as either a cold-blooded pragmatist or a strident Russian nationalist, Taylor provides a more nuanced and compelling interpretation of Putin's motives and actions. The Code of Putinism also shows how Putin's choices, guided by this mentality, have led to a Russia that is misruled at home and punching above its weight abroad.

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
July 05, 2018
6.1 X 0.7 X 9.1 inches | 0.88 pounds

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About the Author

Brian D. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. He is the author of State Building in Putin's Russia: Policing and Coercion after Communism (2011) and Politics and the Russian Army: Civil-Military Relations, 1689-2000 (2003).


"This is a combination of a psychological study, modern politics, and modern history all rolled into one, as we in America struggle often times to understand Putin and what he does and how he operates. This book should help correct that deficit." -- Kevin Winter, Tulsa Book Review

"This compelling study argues that while 'Putinism' may not be a full-fledged ideology like Soviet Marxism-Leninism, it should nevertheless be understood as a coherent regime type that can be emulated by autocrats in other world settings. At a time when global interest in this subject has never been higher, Taylor's new book is sure to find a very wide readership." - Stephen E. Hanson, Vice Provost for International Affairs, College of William & Mary

"The Code of Putinism is a penetrating and incisive x-ray of Putin's rule, essential reading for anyone who wants to decode the central nervous system of power in Russia today. Brian D. Taylor writes with clarity and authority about how the Putin code binds together the state, the clans and key people. The book is like possessing a key to the Kremlin."- David E. Hoffman, author of The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal

"This is a welcome anchor for understanding contemporary Russia. Grounded in Taylor's deep knowledge of the Russian state, careful social scientific analysis, and systematic evidence, this study is an important achievement." - Celeste A. Wallander, President and CEO, The U.S. Russia Foundation

"Taylor makes a valuable contribution here. While warning that his research is not strictly academic, he develops an original approach to explaining the workings of this regime, which is both remarkably stable and clearly underperforming in effectiveness of governance." - Pavel K Baev - PRIO

"The Code of Putin" packs more punch to the pound. It might just as easily have been titled "Decoding Putin" for what Mr. Taylor by linking them to the forces that have shaped and driven Russia " - Aram Bakshian Jr. - The Washington Times