Putinology

23.01.2020

Russia’s New Government Is Its Least Political Yet

Russia’s new cabinet ministers are young, efficient, nonconfrontational, adaptable, and don’t poke their noses into politics. They live in the digital world that is so difficult for the country’s aging leadership to understand. With time, the victim of this technocratic dominance may be that very same leadership.
20.01.2020

Russia Prepares for New Tandemocracy

Putin’s proposed amendments to various roles amount to something resembling an insurance policy, which suggests that the president has already decided who his successor will be, though he may not name that person for another three years.
17.01.2020

Did Putin Just Appoint Himself President for Life?

President Putin’s unexpected proposals this week to change the Russian constitution prompted the instant resignation of the Russian government. What’s he trying to achieve, and will he succeed?
16.01.2020

Planning for a (Not-So) Post-Putin Russia

Of the constitutional reforms put forward by Putin, what will really change a lot is the proposal to give the Russian constitution—including repressive Russian legislation—priority over international law. This violation of the usual hierarchy is nothing short of a legal revolution.
26.08.2019

Has Russia, Inc. Stalwart Chemezov Crossed the Barricades?

Sergei Chemezov’s comments on the public mood in Russia testify not to the specter of a thaw, but, on the contrary, to the fact that the clampdown is in full swing, and only individual members of the inner circle are apprehensive of the authorities’ new radical strategy of repression, which will provoke a new spiral in the war that is already de facto raging between the state and civil society.
13.08.2019

Protests Expose Russia’s Regime Rivalry

Russia’s government agencies are so busy competing with one another and presenting themselves in a good light to the Kremlin that they are failing to deal with the new street protests.
30.07.2019

Moscow Protests Are Good News for Opposition–and Siloviki

This month’s protests in Moscow over city parliament elections are proof that Russia’s non-systemic opposition has taken its struggle to be recognized by the Kremlin as a major political player to a new level. Faced with a foe that has seized the initiative, set the agenda, and brought people into the streets, the Kremlin is at a loss. Its brightest idea, it seems, is to forcibly disperse the protests and prosecute the demonstrators: an approach that risks the state’s takeover by the siloviki.
26.06.2019

As Putin’s Authority Dwindles, Protests in Russia Are Newly Effective

Having lost his leadership, President Putin now has one chance to carry out major reform that would at least temporarily restore the status of national leader to him. The problem is that after twenty years at the helm, he needs to offer society something a little more solid than the national projects. His final reform must in some sense put an end to the way of ruling the president has adhered to since he first came to power: i.e., using brute force to rule the country.
24.06.2019

No Change Ahead, a Jaded Putin Signals at Annual Phone-In

Putin perceives growing discontent with the authorities as a purely emotional reaction, based not on real problems but on society’s failure to understand the true picture. This means that no significant revision of the country’s social and economic direction should be expected. Instead, the president and society will suspect each other of being unreasonable and not understanding what is really going on.
12.06.2019

Why Jailed U.S. Investor Calvey Is the Least of Putin’s Concerns

While the authorities used the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum to blame the United States for Russia’s problems, the forum’s main unofficial topic was the lawlessness and impunity of the security services, or siloviki. Faced with the question of what is preventing business and investors from developing in Russia, the authorities and the business elite had contradictory answers.
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