After the horrors of the school siege in Beslan, the Russian public rightly expected an overhaul of the country's security and intelligence services. What they got was an announcement of extensive new political powers for President Vladimir Putin. Additional funding for the military and for law enforcement was proposed, but without any of the deeper reforms that would be needed to prevent such a tragedy reoccurring. Meanwhile, there are reports that the Kremlin may be seeking Soviet-era curbs on the freedom of Russians to move about the country. It is all in keeping with a pattern Mr Putin has established in recent years, yet as a response to the terrorism threat it is both misguided and inadequate. By centralising authority, emphasising discipline in the armed forces and curbing civil liberties, Mr Putin is shaping Russia into the illiberal democracy many outsiders already believe it has become, while at the same time doing nothing to make Russians safer. His latest moves - ending direct elections for regional governors and making it more difficult for politically independent voices to be elected to parliament - have little to do with fighting terrorism. In fact, they appear to have been in the works long before the Beslan hostage crisis or the bombings that took place in the weeks leading up to the siege. Meanwhile, evidence is mounting that corruption and incompetence in government have played a big role in adding to the mounting toll from terrorist attacks. The bombers in two recent plane hijackings, for instance, are thought to have bought black-market tickets and bribed their way past security checkpoints. To corruption must be added intelligence failings that have left the Russian authorities with no significant insights into terrorist organisations or how they operate. All Russians are left at risk. Living as they do with a system that cannot be trusted to protect them, it is hardly any wonder that parents of the Beslan siege victims and other civilians took up arms, adding to the chaos around the school and the death toll. Fixing this situation will take more than the few low-level staff reshuffles seen in Beslan or the announcement of more military funding. So far, no top-level security official has taken responsibility or been sacked for failing to prevent the terrorists' increasingly bold attacks. As for Mr Putin's political-reform proposals, even former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that they may be another step towards stripping citizens of their voting rights. Centralising power and curbing freedoms without targeting the real problems in the military and intelligence agencies risks adding to grass-roots discontent. Doing so in the name of fighting terrorism can only engender cynicism inside and outside Russia. This is hardly a recipe for stability; nor will it end terrorism in support of militant causes.