Vladimir Putin’s plans to create an economically integrated Eurasian Union could give Russia an opportunity to become a real regional leader, so long as Eurasian economic is voluntary and Moscow’s partners do not see the process as an attempt at political domination.
In response to United Russia’s declining popularity, the Kremlin is trying to dump all of the party’s political dead weight and pushing more support to its remaining assets, rather than forming a coalition with its junior political partners.
Internal and external pressures seem to have triggered a radical readjustment in the Kremlin’s pre-election planning, with potentially long-lasting consequences.
While Russia is still an important global strategic player, thanks to its oil and gas reserves and nuclear arsenal, it lacks the will and the resources to enact a return to the Russian empire.
Mikhail Gorbachev reflects on the fall of the Soviet Union, U.S. actions in the last twenty years, and Putin and Medvedev’s roles in Russia today.
Russian authorities are preparing for a possible new economic crisis and social unrest by expanding the powers of the state security instead of enacting political reforms.
The plans of Russia’s ruling elite, headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, to retain power face increasing challenges from a crumbling infrastructure, economic stagnation, and growing social unrest.
The European Union has an opportunity to make a significant difference in their eastern borderlands, through a combination of social, economic, and political incentives.
When Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev switch places in March, Putin will have the opportunity to consolidate his leadership as president, while the prime minister will be forced to take responsibility for unpopular decisions by the next government.
If Putin is re-elected president, he is likely to seek to maintain continuity and stability in a time of economic uncertainty and his return will not significantly alter Russian domestic politics or the U.S.-Russia reset.