"Vladimir Putin, who was catapulted into the Kremlin following Boris Yeltsin's resignation, was elected President on March 26, 2000 by a solid majority that embraced his military campaign in Chechnya. Parties backing Putin did well in the December 1999 Duma election, giving Putin a stable parliamentary majority as well. Putin has moved to strengthen the central government vis-a-vis regional leaders, to bring TV and radio under tighter state control, and to modernize the armed forces. Federal forces have suppressed large-scale military resistance in Chechnya, but face the prospect of prolonged guerilla warfare. The economic upturn that began in 1999 is continuing. The GDP [Gross Domestic Product] and domestic investment are growing after a decade-long decline, inflation is contained, the budget is balanced, and the ruble is stable. Major problems remain: one third of the population live below the official poverty line, foreign investment is very low, crime, corruption, capital flight, and unemployment remain high. Putin appears to seek simultaneously to tighten political control, introduce economic reforms, get major debt forgiveness, and strengthen the military."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB92089
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://www.fpc.state.gov/