Putin Wants to Dissolve the Russian People and Elect Another
The author writes that, coming to the end of his fourth term, Vladimir Putin does not have the kind of active support he wants from his rural, conservative base. He has spent the past decade describing Russians as hardworking and uncomplaining, but increasingly this is not the case. Instead of making sacrifices for the benefit of the government and general stability, the Russian people are making demands for bigger salaries and better living conditions. The author writes that it is politically impossible for Putin to consider "bleeding" the "friends of Putin, businessmen close to the Kremlin, and patriotic managers taking a hit from Western sanctions" to meet the expectations of his base. Instead, he seeks out a new supportive constituency in an "active minority" of volunteer citizens who will enthusiastically carry out his policies through transition. The author questions whether this group exists in large enough numbers to matter, and if they do, what they will ask of Putin in return for their support. Unlike his urban middle-class or rural conservative supporters, they will most likely not be interested in stability.
Read the full text at Foreign Policy.
Alexander Baunov is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center and the editor in chief of Carnegie.ru.
Photo by DonSimon shared in the public domain.