In Russia there exist formal elections, the representatives institutions as well as the concept of separation of powers: the executive, legislative and judicial. However, the executive, for some reasons, has the monopoly over the other branches of power. The personification of power can be one of the reasons why Russia still fails to go over to the democracy. The present masterthesis is an attempt to examine the balance of the aspects of power as being institutionalized, with the aspect of power personified, which is traditional in the case of Russia. And if the power remains personified, can the systemic change be initiated from above?
The systemic change here is understood as the process of democratization. I examine the presidencies of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin and see whether such conditions as environment, strategic location and personal skills can make an impact for systemic change, initiated by the leaders. Boris Yeltsin was the first publicly elected president after the collapse of Soviet Union, who also claimed to be the first Russian democrat. Boris Yeltsin initiated the so-called democratic reforms parallel to the economic one. Yeltsin was the offspring of nomenklatura and his style of rule was characterized by power bargaining and paternalism. By the end of his presidential term, Yeltsin bargained his power through oligarchic channel to former KGB colonel Vladimir Putin on condition that the latter would provide continuation of power as well as Yeltins personal security. Putin seems to provide the continuation of power, bargaining it in the name of democracy, but he does it differently, acting in his own, Putins way.