After Yeltsin’s surprising resignation on December 31, 1999, Putin also took over the role of incumbent president; By decree, he guaranteed his predecessor and his family, who were involved in a corruption affair, lifelong protection from prosecution.
Internal consolidation after the change of power
As a bearer of hope for domestic and economic policy, not least because of his tough approach in the conflict with Chechnya (initially accepted by a large part of the Russian population), Putin was able to win the presidential elections on March 26, 2000 in the first round (with 52.5% of the Votes before the runner-up Zyuganov, who received around 30% of the vote). When Putin officially took office on May 7, 2000, Putin resigned the position of Prime Minister, in which he was succeeded by the previous Minister of Finance, M. Kasyanov (confirmation by the State Duma on May 17, 2000). Putin quickly initiated a process of strengthening central government authority and announced further domestic and economic policy consolidation measures. In May 2000, for example, he enacted an administrative reform (in August 2000 another law reforming the Federation Council came into force).
“Directed democracy” and partial resovietization
With the aim of being a “party of power”, Putin changed at the end of May 2000 The political movement “Unity”, which was supported and strengthened by the inclusion of further smaller organizations, was officially converted into a party. In view of the long and casualty second Chechen War (referred to by official Russian authorities only as “anti-terrorist action”), but also because of the insensitive and, not least, seemingly helpless reaction to the disaster of the Russian nuclear submarine “Kursk” that was launched on August 12, 2000 sank during a naval maneuver (due to the explosion of a torpedo on board) with a crew of 118 in the Barents Sea, as well as because of another bloody bomb attack in the center of Moscow (August 8, 2000) came in army circles as well as in broad circles Sections of the population temporarily criticize President Putin on. Shortly after taking office, he had the state authorities take action against tax evasion, embezzlement and other offenses by large corporations, in accordance with the »dictatorship of law« he had proclaimed, especially against the economically influential economic oligarchs and media entrepreneurs who had become wealthy under dubious circumstances; At the same time, the media critical of the government were gradually taken under state control. Domestic political controversies were resolved at Putin’s instigation The old Soviet anthem was reintroduced, which was confirmed by a resolution of the Russian parliament in December 2000 together with the red-white-blue tricolor and the double-headed eagle as a state symbol. The new law on political parties passed in May 2001 aimed to considerably reduce the number of political groups in Russia through high requirements. Putin searched through a plethora of legislative initiatives to enforce his political model of a “managed democracy”; Last but not least, the Russian economy (growth of around 5.5% in 2001) benefited from greater legal certainty, which also attracted foreign investors more strongly. In October 2001, after years of controversy, a controversial land law for the legalization of private land came into force. In July 2002, President Putin signed Finally, a law passed by parliament last month that also allows the sale of arable land (but not to foreigners). In an additional law passed on September 24, 2004, the State Duma showed concession towards the churches and religious communities on land issues; It was decided that land owned by the state or the municipalities, on which there are buildings and religious and charitable institutions of religious organizations, shall pass into the ownership of these organizations free of charge. In July 2003, President Putin signed a decree to implement a law on the introduction of community service that was passed by the State Duma on June 28, 2002.