Members' commentary on Vladimir Putin's "plans to be president for life"

PONARS Eurasia
17 Mar 2020

Pavel Baev in "Putin Nullifies All Further Speculation About a Leadership Transition in Russia" (Eurasia Daily Monitor)

"Seeking to preserve a modicum of uncertainty, Putin has yet to formally announce his intention to stand in the 2024 presidential elections; but the political class tends to take it for granted that he will be the only real candidate four years from now—and in the 2030 elections as well."

Nikolay Petrov and Ben Noble in "Russia’s Uncertain Regime Transformation" (Chatham House)

"What this all means for Russia is that, despite the drama, considerable uncertainty remains following Putin’s announcement. What we can say for certain, however, is that it dashes hopes of serious political change any time soon."

Samuel Greene in "Calculation, Chaos, And A Cosmonaut's Speech: Five Takeaways From Putin's Big Bombshell" (RFE/RL)

"People are unlikely to protest in large numbers over something that may or may not happen. And by the time 2024 rolls around, people may be inured to the idea. But it also poses a risk, it puts a big target on Putin's back. If anything, it raises the stakes. Social mobilization is often most powerful when it includes a sense of 'now or never'  that if you don't act now, the future will be lost for a generation or more."

David Szakonyi in "Russia’s Vladimir Putin just got one step closer to being president for life" (VOX)

"This move caught people by surprise, especially given the speed at which the amendment was proposed, and Putin’s immediate endorsement. It’s especially weird given all the proposals he made in January. The biggest thing to take away is that we’re as clueless — or more clueless — about the whole intention behind his January constitutional move because of developments today."

Kirill Rogov in "Russia passes bill allowing Putin to stay in power past 2024" (Gloucester Times)

“People are scared and less prone to gather for large demonstrations [due to the coronavirus]."

Kirill Rogov in "Why Vladimir Putin cannot retire" (The Economist)

"In the end, he chose the crudest, but perhaps simplest, method—changing the constitution and giving himself an option to stay on. In this, he is following in the footsteps of several post-Soviet central Asian despots."


Also see the PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo by Henry Hale: Putin’s End Game?