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
CommentaryRussia Won’t Let Ukraine Go Without a Fight
A continued contest for influence in Ukraine is unavoidable and will get worse before it gets better....
By Michael Kofman & Michael Kimmage
PodcastRussia’s Escalating Pressure on Ukraine and Europe, with Michael Kofman and Kadri Liik
How should the United States and Europe interpret and respond to Russia’s various efforts to exert pressure on its neighbors, including its military buildup on the border with...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Michael Kofman & Kadri Liik
ReportsNavigating Relations with Russia in the Arctic
About the Transatlantic Forum on Russia This policy brief is a product of CNAS’ Transatlantic Forum on Russia, an initiative designed to spur coordination between the United S...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Lawson W. Brigham & Nicholas Lokker
PodcastCrackdown Ahead of Duma Elections, with Russian Opposition Member Dmitry Gudkov and Maria Snegovaya
What does the Kremlin’s crackdown ahead of the recent Duma elections tell us about the current domestic political situation in Russia? Russian opposition leader Dmitri Gudkov ...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Dmitri Gudkov & Maria Snegovaya