Putin won’t take all the members of the old guard with him in 2018. They will be replaced by a generation of special service operatives, security guards, and technocrat-apparatchiks in their forties and fifties, who will stand by Putin in 2018 and beyond
While the Erdogan-Putin summit in St. Petersburg on August 9 aimed to end the conflict between the two presidents triggered by Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet last year, upbeat reports and promises of eternal friendship conceal a long list of problems that can’t be solved any time soon
Putin drew several conclusions from the mass protests of 2011-2012. They convinced him that the mandate he received from “the people,” is much more important than the views of the small and overly outspoken segment of progressive citizens.
The Russian political system is changing from within. As Putin continues to appoint new personnel—including a new chief of staff—the divide between insiders and outsiders is disappearing; everyone is becoming part of the system, cogs in the United Putin machine.
Even if Putin didn’t know about the cyber initiative, what‘s truly important is that he is seen as omnipotent by the media and the politicians in the West. Perhaps the blame is undeserved, and Putin’s power is once again being overstated. But that’s the price you pay for creating a political system where everything hinges on the whims of one man.
President Putin has appointed military and security strongmen to be governors in three regions and removed an unpopular local leader in Sevastopol. He wants to tighten control ahead of the parliamentary elections.
Putin’s address was deeply conservative in content and artfully liberal in rhetoric. He frames being elected to the Duma as being elevated to the ranks of the chosen few. The right to be a Putinist is celebrated, and it’s out of the question that the institution might let in “irresponsible forces”: real threats to power.
War and terrorism have become increasingly routine facts of life in Russia. Since 2014, this reality has become an essential tool for stimulating popular support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin’s performance at the annual nationwide “direct line” phone-in shows he is again prioritizing domestic politics. His answers signaled the start of a 2018 reelection campaign, as he presented himself not as the global strategist of last year but as a domestic manager once again concerned with ordinary people’s problems.
President Putin’s formation of a new National Guard gives him extra powers as a time of political uncertainty begins. It also helps him cut some strong individuals down to size.