Policy Memos

Of Jackals and Hamsters: Dividing Lines in Russian Politics and the Prospects for Democratization

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Speaking to a gathering of his supporters at the height of Russia’s 2007–08 election cycle, President Vladimir Putin depicted his opponents as follows:

"They need a weak, sick state. They need a disorganized and disoriented society, a divided society—in order to fix their deals beyond its back ... [They] scavenge like jackals at foreign embassies ... counting on support from foreign foundations and governments, instead of their own people’s support."

Putin’s labelling of the opposition as jackals quickly became part of political folklore, together with numerous other catchy jargonisms the Russian leader has produced since 1999. [...] 

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About the author

Professor, EU–Russia Studies
University of Tartu, Estonia