(UCLA II event recap) The Putin regime is fighting for its survival, using the annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine to boost its popularity and retain the elite’s monopoly on political and economic affairs, said a panel of Russian scholars and journalists at the Center for European and Eurasian Studies.
A panel of Russian scholars and journalists, moderated by UCLA political scientist Daniel Treisman, attempted to make sense of contemporary Russian politics at an event hosted by the Center for European and Eurasian Studies on March 5. The event was generously supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which is funding the participants (together with additional Russian and U.S. experts) to write a book on the subject.
The panel painted a grim picture of Russia’s present and future, arguing that the Putin regime was unable to change course due to the very logic that currently drives its actions: one that sees Russia as a “besieged fortress,” identifies Putin’s rule with stability and dissent as treasonous, and uses external military action to buttress Putin’s popularity and hold on power. The speakers considered the country’s future highly uncertain, given Russia’s lack of alternative political leaders, institutions or mass media outlets, together with its unaccountable security apparatus and weak regional elites.
Panel speakers included Maria Lipman, columnist for The Washington Post, former scholar-in-residence at the Society and Regions Program of the Moscow Carnegie Center and editor of its journal Pro and Contra; Andrei Soldatov, investigative journalist and co-author, with Irina Borogan, of The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB (Perseus, 2010), and co-founder and editor of Agentura.ru, an information hub on Russian security services; Nikolai Petrov, professor of applied political science and comparative politics at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow, and an expert on Russian regional politics; Kirill Rogov, senior research fellow at the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, political commentator and a founder of the online periodical polit.ru; and Maxim Trudolyubov, opinion page editor of Vedomosti and columnist for the International New York Times. […]
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