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The unknown of what happens when Vladimir Putin’s second term as president ends by 2024 weighs on the public mind. That alone attracts attention to domestic questions rather than international issues. The succession to Putin, whenever it is to happen, is not just about who it might be but also what that person or persons might or ought to do to direct Russia’s future.
There are no signs that Russia’s present and narrowing circle of decision-makers are ready to revisit the questions of structural economic, and therefore political, reform that are needed for the country to flourish. The repression that underpins Putin’s rule continues to grow.
Incomes - Head - % - % - Years
Real incomes per head have fallen by between 11% and 14% over the four years since the seizure of Crimea and the injection of pride in Russia as a great power it then gave to the public. Polls now show that confidence in the government, and Russian institutions in general, has reached a low last seen in 2002. Levada reported 53% of Russians urging the Medvedev cabinet’s dismissal in December 2018.
As much to the point is the erosion of the previously convenient popular supposition that Russia’s government is one thing, and Putin another: trust in him personally fell over the year from around 60% to 39%. Levada polls also showed that over 2018, the number of those who considered Putin personally accountable for dealing with the whole range of Russia’s problems rose from somewhere around 40% in 2015-17 to 61% now.
Implications - Putin - Government - Interests - People
The implications are clear: Putin and his government should be concerned with the interests of the Russian people, but are not.
Putin’s decision to go ahead last June with raising the ages at which Russian men and women should be paid their pensions crystallized discontent with the state of the economy, and the social problems which have...
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"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." - Alexander Hamilton