NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Populism Trap” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Julia Gurganus

Putin Descending a Staircase

“In contrast to the populist image … Putin has created to galvanize support, he is part of today’s Russian establishment elite. This puts him in an awkward position as populism spreads across Europe and Russia marks the one hundredth anniversary of the 1917 revolution. Should Putin again take the populist approach, he is likely to inspire accusations of hypocrisy from the opposition-minded. But without some effort to engage the Russian electorate, Putin may not achieve the strong showing in the 2018 presidential election that he needs to secure his legitimacy and cement his legacy. * * * Putin could burnish his image as the ‘security president,’ which would require continued aggressive posturing in the foreign policy realm – risky at a time when U.S.-Russian relations are poor and U.S. foreign policy is unpredictable. Putin could rebrand himself … as ‘Russia’s modernizer,’ … unwelcome by the elites who want to preserve the status quo. …. Putin as ‘populist 2.0’ smacks of hypocrisy and could further stoke the dissatisfaction that Navalny has tried to tap into. This may not prevent Putin from winning his fourth term, but it will erode his credibility and hasten perceptions of him as a lame duck. …”

NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Populism Trap” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace/ Julia Gurganus