chapter  5
Has the Putin–Medvedev tandem improved women’s rights?
WithANDREA CHANDLER
Pages 14

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev have now dominated the Russian political system for years, and stand to do so for years to come. Vladimir Putin, the most popular leader in Russian history, easily won presidential elections in 2000 and 2004. His presidency ended in 2008, because the constitution allows a president to serve only two consecutive terms. Dmitry Medvedev, Putin’s former deputy prime minister, served as president from 2008-12, while Putin became Medvedev’s prime minister. Following Putin’s successful presidential election bid in March 2012, the two leaders were poised to switch roles in May 2012. Have they encouraged the inclusion of women in Russian social and political life? As powerful leaders in a resource-rich, centralized state, they presumably have the capacity to pursue strong social policy initiatives. Can this system, where two men hold such concentrated power, promote gender equality?