Today there is a new president, Vladimir Putin. It is not at all clear if democracy is his ultimate goal. What is clear is that his authoritarian methods are focused on restoring a centralized Russian state whose power relies on fear, not persuasion or education. He presides over a group of criminal oligarchs, former KGB and military men, and old communist apparatchiks, most of whom would have been right at home in the higher echelons of the Soviet government. Intelligence agents are now part of the presidential directorate; special military counterintelligence departments have been restored. ‘You can’t get anywhere without secret agents,’ Putin has said. Putin expresses pride in his own KGB background, without seeming to understand how the KGB made the Soviet Union a place of fear, even terror, for most of the past century.
Mortimer B. Zuckerman, editor-in-chief, “A Great Step Backward”, U.S. News & World Report, October 9, 2000 http://www.russialist.org/archives/4556.html##5