Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued fewer decrees for the third year in a row since his inauguration. He signed 638 decrees in the year 2015, a record low over the last 15 years.
The Center for Economic and Political Reforms reports that specialists have conducted an analysis of the yearly issued decrees from the year 1994, providing comparative analysis of the activities of Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.
The research revealed that the average number of decrees of the heads of state per month ranged from 123 to 149—a number that was approximately the same, year after year, until 2012. However, at the beginning of Putin’s third presidential term in 2013 the amount of decrees was less than half the annual average. Over the course of his term that number kept falling.
Nikolai Mironov, the Director of the Center for Economic and Political reforms told Dozhd (also known as TV Rain) channel that such a reduction of the President’s activity may relate to physical problems, which have led to moral fatigue.
“The reduction of activity starts in May 2013. At that time the number of the issued decrees dropped by almost half. It was the time when people began to say that the President looked unwell, that he must be ill or may have some injuries”, Mironov said. He notices that around the same time the circulation of other documents—such as Presidential orders and instructions—also decreased.
“After the first half of 2013 the President began to ignore the agenda although there were no major events requiring his participation. In 2014 he appeared to take an active role again due to the ongoing events concerning Crimea but in autumn he was not seen very often, despite the economic crisis. His participation in the agenda was given the least priority,” stated Mironov.
“In 2015 the President had demonstrated his habit of stepping back from all important issues. He would ignore questions over the phone and would not reply to letters. Putin would comment that he knows nothing or he would defer the matter to the government, or he would simply tell jokes. Again, he does these things at a time when he should inquire into matters more closely,” Mironov added.
According to him, it is the lack of decrees that indicates the President’s avoidance of active involvement. With the help of those documents the Head of the State regulates the life of the country. “If the President does not make his decisions take the form of decrees or resolutions they are just not carried out,” Mironov concluded.
In March 2015 Reuters reported that Vladimir Putin had cancelled his visit to Kazakhstan due to illness. Later Dmitry Peskov, the President’s Press Secretary, explained the decision with other informal meetings and refuted information about health problems. However, the media continued to observe the reduction of Putin’s activity. 970 decrees were signed in 2013, 837 were signed in 2014 and 638 were signed in 2015.
The Center analyzed these figures against indicators of Putin’s first presidential term. In the year 2000 he signed more than two thousand decrees and the pattern remained stable until the end of his second presidential term.