NEWSLINK International New York Times/Michael Khodarkovsky: Putin’s Disunited Nation

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

During those tense days in early March when Vladimir Putin disappeared from public view, the Russian president issued only one official statement: He instructed his prime minister to prepare a blueprint for a new federal agency that would work toward ‘consolidating the unity of the multiethnic nation of the Russian Federation.’The move passed relatively unnoticed, but it raises provocative questions. Why suddenly create a new arm of government when funding for other departments is being frozen or cut?

During those tense days in early March when Vladimir Putin disappeared from public view, the Russian president issued only one official statement: He instructed his prime minister to prepare a blueprint for a new federal agency that would work toward ‘consolidating the unity of the multiethnic nation of the Russian Federation.’

The move passed relatively unnoticed, but it raises provocative questions. Why suddenly create a new arm of government when funding for other departments is being frozen or cut? And why did the choice to lead the agency fall upon Igor Barinov, a member of Parliament and a retired colonel of the Federal Security Service with experience in special operations in Chechnya and counterterrorism?

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