NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Re-election Is Assured. Let the Succession Fight Begin” – New York Times/Neil MacFarquhar, Ivan Nechepurenko, Oleg Matsnev

Putin Descending a Staircase

“Ask Russian analysts to describe the coming presidential election campaign, and their answers contain a uniform theme: a circus, a carnival, a sideshow. What they do not call it is a real election. With the victory of President Vladimir V. Putin assured, the real contest, analysts said, is the bare-knuckled, no-holds-barred fight to determine who or what comes after him by the end of his next six years in office, in 2024. What might be called the Court of Putin – the top 40 to 50 people in the Kremlin and their oligarch allies – will spend the coming presidential term brawling over that future. … The more … Putin becomes a lame duck, analysts said, the less influence he may have in choosing a successor and the more Kremlin insiders will assert themselves. …”

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