EXECUTIVE LECTURE FORUM: Activities: 2000: Abstract: Shlapentokh

January 13, 2000

Dr. Vladimir Shlapentokh, Professor of Sociology, Michigan State University

Ukrainian born Vladimir Shlapentokh, university professor and advisor to the Pentagon, briefed the ELF gathering on the present day situation in Russia.  Dr. Shlapentokh firmly believes that many events in Russia, beginning with the banking scandal and the renewed war in Chechnya in August, 1999 and leading up to President Yeltsin's surprise retirement on December 31, 1999 have all been "scripted" by Kremlin insiders, quite possibly by Boris Berezovsky.

Political intrigue, the "family" of Russian mafia, Vladimir Putin's sudden rise to power and the war in Chechnya were all topics of Professor Shlapentokh's timely address.  Never in Russia's history has such an obscure personage as Putin been thrust into apparent power in such a short period of time.   Yeltsin's sudden departure moved up the presidential election to March 26, which gives Putin's rivals little or no time to mount a campaign.  Professor Shlapentokh is firmly convinced that acting President Putin will be elected as President of the Russian Federation.

Dr. Shlapentokh stated that Russia's major obstacle on the path to economic development is corruption, and that Putin, a former KGB agent, will not destroy relations with the West and might fight against corruption.  The Russian people themselves are tired of anarchy, chaos, poverty and national humiliation and surveys show that they support their new President.

Dr. Shlapentokh answered a variety of questions regarding the bombings in Russian cities, the role of the mafia, Primakov's future and the wars in Chechnya and Dagestan.  As to the initial question as to whether America and the West should provide Russia with further funding, Dr. Shlapentokh's final remarks were "probably not."

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