NEWSLINK: “Unquiet American; Putin is unlikely to be brought in from the cold, says former U.S. envoy to Moscow Michael McFaul” – Politico.eu

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

“… How does the #Putin era end? ‘When Putin is no longer in power,’ responds #McFaul. ‘And I think he’ll stay in power for as long as he can.’ A natural end to Putin’s presidency is ‘unlikely,’ he says, ‘given the kind of system he’s built around himself, that really relies on one charismatic individual at its core.’ The #Russians […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Four Warning Signs Of Instability In Russia” – Forbes.com/George Friedman

Russia Regions Map

“Russia has four areas of instability: the distribution and prevalence of wage arrears, pressure on its banking system, low-level social and economic unrest, and government purges. … Russia’s economy is highly regionalized. More than a fifth of Russia’s wealth comes from Moscow and its surrounding areas. The central government keeps the Russian Federation together by redistributing wealth to the interior. […]

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With Reforms Impossible, Some Russians Predict Revolution, Baklanov Says

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 2, 2016) Given that Vladimir #Putin has signaled that any serious reforms in the near term are unlikely or even impossible, ever more #Russians are predicting revolution, especially as that country enters the centenary of the two revolutions of 1917, Aleksandr Baklanov says. That doesn’t mean that a revolution will happen […]

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Russians Turning Against Putin Regime Thus Making Revolutionary Change More Likely, Solovey Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 30, 2016) Deep background sociological research is showing that Russia is at the beginning of “a significant transformation of mass consciousness” that will eliminate much of the loyalty to the regime that the populace now shows in a way that will recall what happened at the end of Soviet times, Valery […]

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New Russian Consensus Reflects National Masochism, Rosbalt Commentator Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 4, 2016) This year has been marked by the rise in Russia of a new “societal agreement” on three points: that the country is in stagnation and will remain so for a long time, that Putin will stay in office “until the end of life (his or ours), and that “after […]

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Expert: Putin’s Reported Plan to Restore KGB May Reflect Fear of Overthrow

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Jim Kovpak – MOSCOW, September 26, 2016) The consolidation of Russia’s intelligence agencies into a massive security ministry, in effect recreating the old Soviet KGB, is a worrisome prospect for some Kremlin watchers. The plan reportedly under discussion would merge the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s principal security agency, the Foreign Intelligence Service and […]

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Duma Vote Shows Changes Won’t Come in Russia via Elections, Commentators Say

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 19, 2016) The most important feature of the Duma Elections was unprecedentedly low level of participation, a reflection of the Russian population’s symmetrical response to the Kremlin’s contempt for its views and an indication that change in Russia “will not come via elections but as a result of some sort of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Chance to Change History” – Stratfor

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Twenty-five years ago, an unsuccessful coup attempt, known as the August Coup, was launched by a group of hawkish Communist Party members and security elites against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in what was widely seen as one of the key moments that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. * * * A keen student of history, Vladimir Putin […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Public Assessments of the Putin Policy Program: Achievements and Challenges” – John P. Willerton/Russian Politics

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

A decade and a half into the Putin team’s tenure, what are Russians’ policy concerns, and how do they accord with Putin team priorities and actions? What is the level of public support for Putin and his team, and how do Russians assess the Putin team’s policy record to date? * * * … survey results reveal that Putin and […]

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Putin Regime Now in Trouble for Seven Reasons, Solovey Says

Putin at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 10, 2016) MGIMO Professor Valery Solovey says that the Putin system if not Vladimir Putin personally is in trouble for seven reasons, most of which are of its own creation but few of which it has a chance of escaping at least in the near term because of the paranoid style […]

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Putin’s Apparent Cancellation of Three Domestic Trips This Week Sparks Speculation

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 7, 2016) Vladimir Putin reportedly has cancelled three domestic trips that he had been scheduled to make this week – to the Altay, Sakha and Nizhny Novgorod – and has not appeared in public since returning from Finland, a pattern that is already leading to speculation about his health physical or […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why IR Theory Gets Russia Wrong; Moscow’s Predictably Unpredictable Politics” – Foreign Affairs/Timothy Frye

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

With Russia’s economy sagging, support for the government falling, and even … Putin’s sky-high approval ratings beginning to come down to earth, there has been no shortage of speculation about Russia’s political stability. Some argue that a collapse of the Putin regime is imminent … others are more cautious. * * * Russia is oil-rich, but less so than many […]

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Degradation of Russian Elites Underlies Russia’s Decline, Pastukhov Says

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 24, 2016) “The thinning out of the Russian ‘cultural stratum’ and, as a result, the degradation of elites who have turned out to be incapable of responding to new historical challenges,” Vladimir Pastukhov says, is the underlying cause of the current decline of the country. All other causes, technological, societal and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Don’t Rock the Boat: How Long Can Putin Avoid Capsizing?” – Carnegie Moscow Center/Andrei Kolesnikov

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

Some Russian experts are predicting that the current Russian regime will last another ten years. Change is inevitable, but no one can forecast what form it will take. In the short term, the trend is for inertia and no change. What will the Russian political landscape look like a decade from now? Is Russia slipping back to the Soviet past […]

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Putinism won’t end with a bang, but a warrant; New charges concerning several leading Russian officials reveal the greatest threat to the Kremlin’s hold on power – elite corruption.

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – May 10, 2016) Mark Galeotti is currently Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and a visiting fellow at the ECFR, although from August he will be principal director of the Mayak Intelligence consultancy in Prague and senior researcher at the Czech Institute for International Relations. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In […]

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Lower-Level State Employees Nucleus of Coming Social Revolt in Russia, Kagarlitsky Says

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 4, 2016) The reasons Russians are protesting haven’t changed but the composition of those taking part in protests has, Boris Kagarlitsky says; and the groups that are likely to form the nucleus of a new social explosion are not the young and the pensioners as in the past but men in […]

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Russians Will Stop Supporting Putin Only When They See His Weakness, Yakovenko Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 24, 2016) Given the longstanding servility of the Russian people, Vladimir Putin can be deprived of popular support only by showing how weak he in fact is, according to commentator, something that requires the opposition within Russia to unite and the West to reduce to a minimum any contacts with him. […]

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RBTH: Can two political émigrés foment a revolution in Russia from abroad?

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

With half a year remaining before parliamentary elections in Russia, not only the Russian government but also its opponents have intensified their activities. In London two millionaires are open in their support for a revolution in Russia. But instead of undertaking concrete action they are waiting for the government to make mistakes. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How long will Putin stay in power?” – Washington Post/Nelli Babayan

Putin Descending a Staircase

How long can Putin last? … former Swedish prime minister … Bildt gave him five to 10 years. Some Russian analysts predict the Putin regime will falter as early as mid-2016. Putin will not remain in power indefinitely. But he won’t be out anytime soon. * * * Putin, with his KGB history, has a specific and rather homogenous entourage […]

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Ten Reasons Putin System May Not be as ‘Sustainable’ as Many Now Think

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 17, 2016) In an interview with Tomsk television, Mariya Snegovaya points to ten reasons why in her view the Putin system may not be nearly as “sustainable” as many now think given that the fall in oil prices has not led to an immediate effort to over throw the Kremlin leader. […]

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Putin, Trapped Between War and Revolution, Will Choose War, Ikhlov Says

Vladimir Putin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 2, 2016) There are two possibilities in Russia today: either Vladimir Putin is in control of events or he is their prisoner, trapped between war and revolution. As bad as the first would be, the way the world has gone to war in the past suggests the second may be even […]

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Russians Thinking about Future after Putin Too Often Include Putin Elements in It, Kashin Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 9, 2016) Ever more Russians are thinking about a future for themselves without Vladimir Putin, a positive development because it shows that they no longer imagine he will be as eternal as he thinks and because it is allowing them to consider many issues now that will have to be addressed […]

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The End Of Russia’s Mass Hallucination

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – December 23, 2015) Fresh barbed-wire fencing around the nation’s main TV tower isn’t exactly a sign of a confident regime. In addition to reinforcing its perimeter, Moscow’s state-run Ostankino television center also upgraded its security detail, replacing regular police officers with elite Interior Ministry forces. “These are normal security measures that are connected to the […]

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Revolution in Russia ‘Inevitable and Necessary,’ Khodorkovsky Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 10, 2015) Yesterday, exiled Russian oligarch and opposition leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky gave an online press conference in which he said that a revolution in Russia is both “inevitable and necessary, a declaration that has attracted broad attention in the Russian segment of the Internet. But he said a number of other […]

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Putin Majority Breaking Down But Elite Splits and Mass Protests Won’t Come Immediately, Solovey Says

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 8, 2015) The truck drivers’ strike and the seriousness with which the Kremlin has reacted to it show that “the Putin majority, the Putin consensus and Putin stability are all beginning to break down, Valery Solovey says; but that does not mean that more mass protests are likely to occur in […]

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Kyiv Must Seek Collapse of Putin Regime, Not ‘Restoration of Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity at Any Price,’ Portnikov Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 20, 2015) Ukrainian commentator Vitaly Portnikov argues that the goal of the Ukrainian government should not be “the restoration of territorial integrity at any price but rather the undermining of the economy of the aggressor country and the collapse of Putin’s political regime” (rus.newsru.ua/columnists/19nov2015/voprossroka.html). Western media say that the EU and […]

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Russian Justice Ministry Accuses Memorial Of Calling For Regime Change

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – RFE/RL’s Russian Service – November 10, 2015) Russia’s Justice Ministry has accused the prominent nongovernmental organization Memorial of “undermining the foundations of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation” and of calling for “a change of political regime” in the country. The ministry sent the Memorial Human Rights Center notification of the accusations on November 9 […]

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How Next Round of Russia’s Disintegration May Begin

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 24, 2015) In his poem, “The Fall of Rome,” W.H. Auden wrote that it could be signaled not by some dramatic event but rather by “a bored official” scribbling a note and leaving his office to go home, a reminder that enormous tectonic shifts often begin with small things that most […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Edward Lucas: “Russian Roulette. The regime has replaced institutions with one-man rule and treats criticism as treason. But it could get even worse.”

Putin Descending a Staircase

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Edward Lucas reviews two books, Putinism by Walter Laqueur and Putin’s Russia edited by Leon Aron. Lucas assesses Putinism, unfolding under the extensive reign of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a negative light: Making sense of Putinism is rather like trying to analyze a Russian salad. Unappetizing cubes of meat and vegetables lurk in […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times/Andrei Kozyrev: Russia’s Coming Regime Change

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Writing in The New York Times, former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev addresses the future of Russian governance in the face of multiple economic, political and international challenges. The firmness of the West in protecting the sovereignty of Ukraine and restoring its territorial integrity is a prerequisite not only to rein in the Kremlin’s aggressive impulses, but also to engage […]

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NEWSLINK Euromaidan Press: Putin regime can’t be reformed, only replaced, like its Soviet predecessor, Yakovenko says

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

“Having unleashed the imperial self-consciousness of the population, Yakovenko continues, ‘Putin not only does not want but cannot stop this insanity. He already lacks the powers to stop the war he began in Ukraine, even if he wanted to. He lacks the power to stop the hysteria of hatred in the media.’

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Putin’s Collapse Could Spark Russia’s Violent Disintegration, Kasparov Says

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 28, 2015) Speaking in Kyiv yesterday, Russian opposition leader Garri Kasparov said that the collapse of Vladimir Putin’s regime could spark the disintegration of the Russian Federation and that that in turn would likely be far more dangerous and explosive than was the end of the USSR. It could occur suddenly […]

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NEWSLINK Politico: What If Putin Disappeared for Real? The Russian president’s absence points to Russia’s looming succession crisis

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

Well, he’s ba-ack, but Russia’s brief sojourn without Vladimir Putin in public view won’t be forgotten soon. Even as Putin rather airily dismissed the issue of his long public absence on Monday, saying life “would be boring without gossip,” the frenzied rumor-mongering over the Ten Days That Shook the Twitter World raised a lot of serious issues. Most of all, […]

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A Post-Putin Russia Might Be Bad News for Everyone, Including Ukraine, in the Short Term

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 14, 2015) If Vladimir Putin is ousted or when he dies, the Russian government likely to emerge at least in the near term would not be the liberal, democratic and peaceful one in which so many are placing their hopes. And in the short term, such a regime almost certainly would […]

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Getting Ready for President Putin’s Successor

Putin at Desk

Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2015 From: David Law <davidmurraylaw@gmail.com> Subject: Getting Ready for President Putin’s Successor David Law, www.davidmlaw.com, is Senior Associate at the Security Governance Group and Senior Fellow at its partner organisation, the Centre for Security Governance. President Putin’s current mandate runs out in 2018. It has long been expected that he will go for a second six-year […]

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There are Alternatives to Putin and Not All of Them are in the Kremlin, Satarov Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 4, 2015) In any political system, there is always “an alternative” to the current leader, Georgy Satarov says, and consequently, when Vladimir Putin leaves his position, a new head of Russia will emerge — and it won’t necessarily be someone from the current Kremlin entourage or happen peacefully. But it is […]

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A Coup Against Putin?

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Donald N. Jensen – February 4, 2015) As Russia’s economy enters recession and its political stability starts to weaken, there is increasing speculation about the possibility of a regime change in the country. Donald N. Jensen, resident fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations, discusses Russia’s political climate and the options currently confronting […]

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NEWSWATCH: How Putin could lose power

Vladimir Putin

[“How Putin could lose power” – Vox.com – Amanda Taub – January 5, 2015] Vox.com and Amanda Taub talk with NYU Professor Mark Galeotti about possibilities for a Putin transition, especially if the apparatus supporting Putin has a change of attitude: After more than a decade in power, Russian President Vladimir Putin is facing what may be his most turbulent and difficult year […]

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Power struggles inside the Kremlin: A behind-the-scenes look at power struggles inside the Kremlin reveals potential scenarios for the future. And a possible new president.

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(opendemocracy.net – Vladimir Pribylovsky – December 31, 2014) Vladimir Pribylovsky is the president of the Moscow-based Panorama Information and Research Center and co-author of ‘The Age of Assassins: The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin’. Russia’s ruling structure bears the marks of authoritarianism, oligarchy, and three different presidents. Under Boris Yeltsin, rapacious despotism at the centre was accompanied by anarchical […]

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Putin goes

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(opendemocracy.net – Aleksandr Morozov – December 22, 2014) Russian journalist , political analyst . Since August of 2011 – editor in chief of ” Russian Journal” , the director of the Center for Media Research UNIK Until ‘Black Tuesday’ on 16 December 2014, fifteen years after he first took power, there were no grounds for any consideration of whether Putin […]

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Putin stays

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(opendemocracy.net – Chris Weafer – December 22, 2014) Chris Weafer is the co-founder of Macro Advisory, and former Chief Strategist at Sberbank CIB. He served for four years as Chief Strategist with Uralsib Financial Corporation and for five years with Alfa Bank. The Kremlin has adopted a deliberate strategy – to let the rouble continue falling as the “lesser of […]

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A New Genre in Russian Commentary – Thinking about Russia after Putin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 20, 2014) In the minds of some, Vladimir Putin used his press conference this week to demonstrate his conviction that he will remain president of Russia forever (replika.com.ua/ru/3_politika/ zadacha_putina_probivat_na_ prochnost_zapadnuyu_koalitsiyu), ever more Russian commentators are asking “What will be the situation after Putin?” Among those doing so is Daniil Kotsyubinsky, a […]

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