An expert orthodoxy is emerging that despite his victory in the recent presidential elections, Vladimir Putin is losing power and the “Putin era” is coming to an end. Many see him as out of touch and increasingly at odds with the Russian population.
The new research report by the NDC Research Division considers the nature of Putin’s victory and the nature of the opposition movement, including the recent opposition demonstrations which many have seen as reflecting the emergence of a frustrated urban middle class pushing for reform. It then sketches out some thoughts about what may happen next, reflecting on the evolving Russian political scene and possible changes, including the implications of the “rotation” of senior officials that both Putin and Medvedev have promised.
A prominent British politician once observed that all political lives end in failure, since this is the nature of politics and human affairs. The Putin era will not be an exception to this maxim – but given the results of the elections and the fading of support for the demonstrations, it is far from clear that this will happen in the immediate future. Indeed, with Dmitri Medvedev’s likely move to the position of Prime Minister, it is not even fully clear that the “tandem” arrangement is at an end. How the current Russian leadership evolves and adapts to the situation should be the focus of our attention, rather than the hazarding of guesses about when Putin will leave the scene.
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