All of the sudden, the transition of power in Russia has begun. In his annual state of the nation speech on Jan. 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised many by proposing constitutional changes that would redistribute power within the Russian government, giving more authority to positions Putin might himself take over when his presidential term expires in 2024.
It’s not that the idea of tinkering with Russia’s highest law was so shocking. After all, it was widely expected that Putin would find a way to extend his time in power beyond 2024. Instead, it was the timing of his announcement—four years before he has to step down—that caught people off guard. Yet by making the announcement now, Putin is avoiding succession pressures that could have built up over the course of the next several years and possibly triggered protests. Already, elite infighting was intensifying as individuals jockeyed for influence amid the uncertainty over Putin’s future. Moreover, the public’s discontent with the Russian economy, which has grown in recent years, is unlikely to abate. It could even worsen given Russia’s stagnant economic outlook.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.
More from CNAS
CommentarySharper: The Authoritarianism Challenge
Autocratic leadership is on the rise globally. Even in democratic nations, leaders are eroding checks on their power and weakening institutions. The use of illiberal technolog...
By Anna Pederson
CommentaryCan Ukraine’s Military Keep Winning?
Ukraine’s military has undergone a radical transformation over the past eight years, thanks to intensive reorganization and reform efforts and billions of dollars in Western s...
By Margarita "Rita" Konaev & Polina Beliakova
CommentaryIs Russia Better Off Without Putin? The Answer is Changing.
To figure out whether we would be better off without Putin, though, we first need to weigh something else: How would Putin’s departure from power affect Russia? Would a leader...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor & Erica Frantz
PodcastA closer look at some of Russia's military failures in the war on Ukraine
NPR's A Martinez speaks with Jeff Edmonds about what Russia's invasion of Ukraine says about its military power at large. Listen to the full conversation from NPR....
By Jeffrey Edmonds