JRL NEWSWATCH: “Still standing; How Vladimir Putin maintains his support” – Times Literary Supplement (UK)/ Stephen Kotkin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Putin forced through a plebiscite to zero out … constitutional limits on his rule. … [H]e can run again, in 2024, for two more six-year terms, until 2036, when he will turn eighty-four. …. Putin could have … move[d] Russia onto a stable path of institutional pluralism. Russia’s would-be democrats … Gorbachev and … Yeltsin, started out … popular only to sink into single-digit ratings. Though Putin recently slipped to 59 per cent approval, he has remained one of the world’s most popular leaders for two decades. … mostly confound[ing] Anglo-American analysts. Russia’s economy stagnated even before oil prices cratered. Corruption long ago surpassed … Gogolesque absurdity. A third of Russia’s medical facilities lack running water, let alone basic supplies or staff. Such comprehensive misrule has long prompted predictions of Putin’s demise. But authoritarian regimes can govern egregiously and survive by excelling at just one task: the suppression of alternatives. … Putin [also] has adroitly positioned himself as a man of the people and defender of traditional Russia. …”

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