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Foreign Policy Analysis
Russia’s Succession Problem – PVV Ep. 63

Russia’s Succession Problem – PVV Ep. 63


Hi, I’m Brian Whitmore, director of the Russia
Program here at CEPA, and this is a Vertical Video. Vladimir Putin’s moves to overhaul the Russian
Constitution and the accompanying government reshuffle demonstrated something obvious. Putin plans to remain Russia’s de facto ruler
indefinitely. But let’s face it. We already knew that. What we are learning now — data point by
data point — is the mechanism by which he is seeking to achieve that goal. But last week’s dramatic developments in Moscow
and the ongoing fallout also illustrate something else, something much more fundamental, something
that helps explain Russia’s autocratic and arbitrary domestic politics as well as its
revanchist and aggressive foreign policy. What this all shows us is that Russia lacks
one of the fundamental attributes of a modern state. It lacks a succession principle. It lacks a predictable mechanism for power
to legitimately be transferred. And when a state lacks a stable and predictable
succession principle, one thing that happens is that every transition becomes a potential
crisis as the ruling elite is forced to resort to dramaturgy, to manufactured drama, to justify
itself. Recall back in 2000, when Putin’s rise to
power was facilitated by those suspicious apartment bombings in Moscow and other cities
and the ensuing war in Chechnya. Now back in 2011, when Putin and Dmitri Medvedev
pulled off their infamous castling move, the ruling elite basically decided that it was
not going to have a succession principle at all. The current regime was going to remain indefinitely. And that meant that the regime needed more
than just some dramaturgy, it needed a legitimizing myth, it needed an ideology. And it is no accident that around this time,
concepts like Eurasianism, the Russky Mir, and great power imperialism went mainstream
in Moscow. The annexation of Crimea and the invasion
of the Donbas would soon follow. But even this wasn’t enough. For in the eyes of the Putin regime, survival
without a succession principle necessitated more than just a legitimizing myth. It necessitated that the stable prosperous
democratic states to Russia’s West, and the European Union that binds them together, be
delegitimized, stigmatized, and destabilized. Russia lacks one of the fundamental attributes
of a modern state. And this goes a long way toward explaining
the current conflict between Moscow and the West. Keep telling us what you think on Twitter
and on Facebook. I’m Brian Whitmore and this was a Vertical
Video.

1 comment on “Russia’s Succession Problem – PVV Ep. 63

  1. Disagree. You fall in the trap of perpetual repetition that Putin is a supreme ruler of Russian federation and he will stay as such even after his official leave. In the matter of fact he ceased to be president on 15/01/2020 according to the crime he committed against current Constitution. Please don’t refer him as a president of Russian Federation anymore, but as a criminal, former president.

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