This Independent Study features the works not only of Vladimir Putin, but of famous opposition writers such as Anna Politkovskaya, Masha Gessen, Lilia Shevtsova, and other prominent Russian scholars. By referencing the insights of all these individuals, and putting them in context with newspaper articles written during the time period, it is possible to establish, and analyze, the government and opposition accounts of the events examined in this Independent Study. The purpose of this Independent Study is to examine precisely how autocratic Putin's first two terms as President were, and what effect they had on the state of freedom and democracy in the Russian Federation. Putin's persecution of members of the opposition and the media comprised the dark side of his two-terms as president. By understanding the most horrific and questionable events of Putin's presidency from 2000-2008, along with his past, we can better realize the true legacy of Putin's first years in office.


Corrigan, Yuri

Second Advisor

Schilling, Hayden

Third Advisor

Portice, Timothy


History; Russian Studies


Political History | Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies


vladimir putin, opposition, kgb, anna politkovskaya, masha gessen, autocrat, alexander litvinenko, vladimir gusinsky, boris berezovsky, mikhail khodorkovsky, chechnya, ryazan

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2013 William F. Burkhart