NEWSWATCH: “Putin will elevate loyalty over all in his next presidency” – RaamopruslandNL/ Mark Galeotti

Putin Descending a Staircase

Is Putin’s grip on power still as strong as ever? Some observers are … presenting him as some kind of a ‘lame duck president’, even as he prepares to be re-elected yet again. … Mark Galeotti suggests such talk misrepresents the nature of power in today’s Russia. ‘Power is the capacity to act and get away with it’ ….

Putin has made it clear that he is tired, at least tired of the constant demands of ruchnoe upravlenie, ‘manual control’ of the system. One response would be to revive the institutions, to create a real government able to govern. Instead, it seems likely that Putin’s next term as president will see quite the opposite, an increasing willingness to let those whom he considers ‘his’ people have free reign, so long as they appear loyal. This is the new social contract, trading personal loyalty for freedom to act at will. Putin does not act not because he lacks power, but because he cannot be bothered to use it … willing to grant more to his boyars … retaining the right and power to take it back. The façade crumbles, and we see the tsar’s court behind it. …”

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