A new Putin worse than the old Putin?

An article by my Hoover colleague Dr. Paul Gregory in The Hill

Vladimir Putin is mortal. Russia, sooner or later, will have to navigate the transition from his 20-plus years of rule to someone else. It now appears that “sometime” could come as early as January 2021, if ill-health rumors denied by the Kremlin should prove to be true.

But do not be hopeful for a democratic Russia, whenever it happens. Putin’s inner circle would preserve the Putin system even without Putin; Russian voters would have little or no voice in the matter. It would be a process closely “managed” by a coterie of Kremlin insiders. They will not (and cannot) allow a democratic Russia that offers a variety of candidates with different electoral platforms.

The Kremlin has a historical precedent for managed transition — namely, the 1999-2000 transition from President Boris Yeltsin to Vladimir Putin. A key building block of the Yeltsin transition was the grant of immunity from eventual prosecution for the outgoing president and for his family. A second key ingredient was enforcement of the agreement by a credible guarantor. That guarantor happened to be the security services, headed at the time by one Vladimir Putin.

Read the full article here

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