Whatever changes 2018 and 2024 bring to Russia’s leadership, the broader political system will become increasingly depersonalized, making it—rather than the president—the source of stability.
The Communist Party’s new presidential candidate is far from a dull apparatchik. He’s a populist whose criticism of the authorities can appeal to different electoral groups. There has always been a demand for populism in Russia. If Pavel Grudinin can run an effective campaign—and his previous political experience suggests he can—it could lead to serious changes in the Russian political landscape.
Most of Navalny’s economic proposals are seriously concerning and evocative of left-wing populist slogans. The policy platform contains outright errors, but its greatest problem is that it attacks all vocal parts of society in favor of a mythical “people.” Attracting voters with such a platform will prove to be difficult.
Russians do not express an overwhelming desire for change. Few understand how it could occur in their country. But most recognize that Russia cannot move forward without reform.
Arseny Roginsky, founder of Memorial, was the embodiment of freedom. While Soviet authorities considered him to be anti-Soviet, he could best be described as, simply, not Soviet at all. Roginsky was a patriot of his country; his main goal being the protection of Russian history from the state’s attempts to obliterate its crimes.
The president’s speech at the Bishops’ Council will only exacerbate disagreements over the future of the Russian Orthodox Church between—and among—religious and secular Russians. The secular community feels he is drifting toward the church, while many in the religious community believe he is trying to establish government control over church activities.
In Russia, there is no particularly tense strife between supporters and opponents of the hundred-year-old revolution. But there is competition among the ruling political establishment and the oppositional intelligentsia on the topic of political repression. The regime is fighting back against the opposition’s monopoly on the right to represent the victims and name the state as the executioners’ successor.
By refusing to open the archives of the interrogation of Raoul Wallenberg, the Russian intelligence service is proving that it aspires to be the heir of Stalin’s NKVD.
How does the Russian state manipulate history in its relations with society? Whom do Russians consider heroes, and what are the most sensitive historical topics in modern Russia? Andrei Kolesnikov explains how and why history is politicized in Russia today, and why this trend is unlikely to change.
Supporters of a free Russia have long dreamed of a day when the Orthodox Church is separate from the state and when elected officials are unafraid to oppose Kremlin ministers. The latter is certainly happening, but among those who are taking advantage of this new freedom first are zealots who speak in a language of aggressive and intimidating conservatism.