Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Putin Debates His Future

Vladimir Putin addressed the speculation that he sees himself as ruling Russia as long as Joseph Stalin (ran USSR for more than 30 years) or Leonid Brezhnev (who served from the fall of Khrushchev until his death in 1982, 18 years).

The Russian constitution currently limits presidents to two 12-year terms (two separate 6-year elections). Putin’s term is up in 2018 and he could run again, serving until 2024.

If he runs for re-election, Putin could serve a total of 20 years and be Russia’s president to the end of the next U.S. president’s 8-year term (elected 2016 and could serve until 2024).

Putin is highly popular today due to his nationalist policies and state dominated media, including TASS – the state controlled news agency (where he recently pledged to abide by term limits).

As part of a recent exercise at the Korbel School, students speculated that sanctions and other problems with the Russian economy (low price of oil) could lead Putin to consider not running in 2018. The following were conditions outlined that he would be likely to want if he began to recruit a replacement.

Putin’s Goal. Find a replacement to run in 2018 who will:
  1. Protect his personal and family wealth, liberty and security (Yeltsin guarantee)
  2. Maintain (extend) imperial gains
  3. Maintain sufficient authoritarian control
  4. Maintain (extend) anti-Western ideology
  5. Win public opinion and the 2018 election
That replacement would look more like a military man (military currently held in high esteem) than a Kremlin bureaucrat (Medvedev). The main criterion for the leader is to win election most likely by addressing inflation and housing more than nationalism.

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