The combination of aggressive conformism and petty indifference is the basis of the regime’s popular support.
The ruling party will clearly retain its central place under any future scenario for the transition of power, and anyone who hurries to jump on the bandwagon today will likely come out on top.
Amid the uncertainty over what will happen when Putin steps down in 2024, everyone is striving to claim exclusive functions that could later be required by Putin during the implementation of his plan for the transition of power.
The replacement of Russia’s Human Rights Council head Mikhail Fedotov, who was completely loyal to the authorities, with United Russia party member Valery Fadeyev, determines the council’s status once and for all. It is first and foremost a presidential council, and only then a human rights council.
Russian officialdom has lately developed an enormous appetite—bordering on patriotic hysteria—for historical politics.
The near-identical results of gubernatorial runners-up Mikhail Amosov and Nadezhda Tikhonova show once again that people were following the tactic of voting for anyone except acting governor Alexander Beglov, and that left with two other options, voters simply tossed a coin. For the first time in the city’s history, we have seen clearly expressed protest voting.
The outcome of Russia’s latest regional elections, especially in Moscow and Khabarovsk, throws into question plans to reduce the proportion of seats allocated by party list voting in favor of more single-mandate districts ahead of elections to the State Duma in 2021. It turns out that when faced with a strong protest mood like in Khabarovsk, or heavily mobilized protests amid a low turnout like in Moscow, these maneuvers don’t help.
A TV star-turned-politician is as good a new model as any for candidates for State Duma elections: someone who criticizes everyone, but then on fundamental issues will always willingly support the authorities. The Kremlin is currently studying the potential of this kind of candidate. The global trend of populists winning; actors, singers and other celebrities turning their hand to politics; and the departure of traditional parties are all things Russia has already seen, and not so long ago either. It would not be hard to return to that time.
Today it makes sense to examine Putin’s legacy in practical regard, through the prism of certain questions: What is of abiding importance and should be preserved for the next generation of Russian leaders? What needs to be changed and developed? What should be best avoided in the future?
A new experiment in the use of artificial intelligence will be monopolized by the Kremlin. It could have major political consequences in Russia.