Apr 19, 2022
History is full of what-ifs. What if in 1999 Russia's fading president Boris Yeltsin had handpicked someone other than Vladimir Putin to be his successor? What we do know is that Putin and his ruling circle steered Russia toward autocracy, and 22 years later the former KBG lieutenant colonel still rules with dictatorial powers. In this episode Julie Newton, an expert on Russian history and politics at Oxford University, discusses the set of circumstances that led Yeltsin to make his fateful choice, and the many reasons why the renewal of authoritarianism under a powerful state -- at odds with liberal Western traditions -- was not inevitable.