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Why Putin can accurately describe himself as a conservative.

What are the philosophies which underpin Vladimir Putin’s time at the pinnacle of political life in Russia?  ‘Sovereign democracy’, ‘managed democracy’, ‘the power vertical’ and ‘the dictatorship of law’ are all phrases that have been used to understand ‘Putinism’.  However, these all describe the methods which the President uses to exercise power, rather than the values which he believes in.
Some commentators have chosen to view Putin purely as a pragmatist and he has been largely disinclined to theorise about his beliefs.  In his ‘state of the nation’ address, during December, the President explicitly called himself a ‘conservative’, who wants to defend Russian ‘national traditions’. 
That might not please some people to the right of centre in areas of America or Europe, but in the classic sense, Putin’s conservatism is beyond doubt.  In the US, and to an extent in the UK, conservatism has become synonymous with economic liberalism and even, increasingly, with pushing a certain mo…