January 17, 2020

Putin Is Following the Game Plan of Other Autocrats Before Him

By Andrea Kendall-Taylor

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.

  • Commentary
    • August 31, 2020
    Addressing Deepening Russia-China Relations

    Russia-China cooperation increases the challenge that each country poses to the United States....

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor & Jeffrey Edmonds

  • Video
    • August 26, 2020
    Digital Dictators

    The rise of digital technology initially ushered in a wave of optimism about the future of democracy. Today, however, a different reality has emerged as authoritarian regimes ...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor

  • Commentary
    • War on the Rocks
    • August 14, 2020
    Russia and China Playing Musical Chairs in Zero Gravity

    American defense planners need to not overinflate the threat of Russian-Chinese cooperation, but still understand and plan for those areas where their combined efforts might l...

    By Jeffrey Edmonds

  • Commentary
    • War on the Rocks
    • August 12, 2020
    The Resilience of Sino-Russian High-Tech Cooperation

    While Russia and China are signing joint agreements to develop high-tech research centers and initiatives, the outlook is more complex beneath the surface....

    By Samuel Bendett & Elsa B. Kania

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia