Oct 14, 2021
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There will be no successor: Putin will be persuaded to stay

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin

In the photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo: Alexey Druzhinin / Presidential Press Service / TASS)

The president Vladimir Putin In an interview with the American channel CNBC, he spoke about the prospects for resolving the issue of succession of power in 2024. Speaking about possible participation in the elections, the head of state noted that he prefers not to answer this question.

“This is my traditional answer. There is still a lot of time before the next elections. Conversations on this topic are destabilizing the situation. The situation must be calm, stable, so that all government bodies, all state structures work confidently, calmly look into the future, ”Putin said, reminding him of the right to run for a second term.

“But no decisions have been made on this score yet,” he stressed.

On June 30, during a direct line, Putin answered a question about his plans after his resignation. “Why work after resignation? I will sit on the stove, ”the president said.

So everything really hasn’t been decided yet? Wouldn’t it be time?

In July, the speaker of the State Duma Viacheslav Volodin urged Putin to remain head of state “as long as possible,” as Russia will become even stronger under him.

“We all need to do everything so that he remains our president as long as possible. Under him, Russia will become even stronger, people will live better, without shocks and wars. And even if problems arise, as now with the sanctions, we will go through them much less painfully than in previous periods of our country’s history, “he explained in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Well, okay, let it be as long as possible – but then what? Putin is not eternal in any case …

– The President began to discuss the issue of a successor because “there is still enough time before the elections.” However, the question arises, – says Associate Professor, Penza State University Anna Ochkina

– To what extent are these conversations generally appropriate in a democracy? If we had a living political field and competition policy, there would be no control over elections, such conversations would not even take place. A living opposition would have its own alternative cabinet and candidates for any post who would be active not only before the elections.

But this is an ideal situation, it does not exist not only in Russia, in its pure form it is not found anywhere else. We have no politics at all, but we have agreements, a whole system of agreements. And while there is no agreement at the top, it is quite logical that there is a pause, and the intrigue remains. Or, on the contrary, everything is already clear, but so far the decision is not submitted to the public, so that there is no unnecessary irritation in society.

“SP”: – In your opinion, the question of who will be president after 2024 has not been resolved yet?

– I think the issue has been resolved in favor of Vladimir Putin. As for other options, there is no agreement among the elites, and I think there will not be.

– The issue of the future president of Russia and, more broadly, the transit of power is of concern not only to journalists, but also to more or less all citizens of the country, and a significant part of foreigners too, – explains the increased interest in the topic of successors Stanislav Byshok, Ph.D. in Political Science, Executive Director of the International Monitoring Organization CIS-EMO

– The question “what will happen to the Motherland and to us?” has a universal human character, it is not tied to a specific country and a specific political leader.

In addition, it is obvious that the answer to the same question will not necessarily be the same at different times. Suffice it to recall the very recent statements of the head of state that there is no need to change the current constitution of the Russian Federation or raise the retirement age. Vladimir Putin may also give a more affirmative answer to the question about a successor.

“SP”: – According to Putin, conversations on this topic destabilize the situation. Is he right?

– As we can see, the country is not very destabilized even by high mortality rates and low rates of vaccination against coronavirus, as well as anomalies in the parliamentary elections. I believe that the Russian president is more likely referring not to citizens in general, but to the political class, which, if it considers that a successor has been designated, will be faced with the need to somehow cope with the problem of double loyalty. And this, in turn, can negatively affect the controllability of the state as a whole. I personally don’t think this is the case, but I am trying to reproduce the line of reasoning.

“SP”: – What prevents to decide? Putin himself does not want to run for the next term, but there is no suitable candidate for a successor? Or what else?

– The situation for the appointment of a successor today seems incomparably more favorable and secure than the border of 1999 and 2000. Then, more than twenty years ago, there was a fairly widespread opposition in the regions and in the national parliament, there was no information vertical, a huge role in the political life of the country was played by the business elite, the security forces were far from political control, there was a problem of Chechnya, and at the same time, crime – from small to highly organized.

Today, all this is not there, but, probably, there is a feeling that it is not too good to be and that there are certainly some hidden threats, pitfalls, some uncalculated risks. For example, the notorious factor of Western intervention. Or, if you will, imaginary Western intervention.

In addition, obviously, there is also a very real personal factor: if you have been working as president for more than twenty years, you succeed, and all the forces that require changes, including the change of the first person of the state, are devoid of any real subjectivity, then why not continue further?

“SP”: – Will there be a candidate? Putin copes with his duties, but is there a second such “galley slave”?

– The paradox of Russia, like, perhaps, of any other country, is that, with all the personalistic nature of the current political regime, in fact the country is ruled by officials. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of officials are people of the lower level, the same MFC employees. It is hardly possible to assume that when the first person of the state changes, all these people in all cities and villages will suddenly start to work badly or the MFC will shut down altogether, the rivers will flow backwards, and the Internet will be turned off. Today they love historical parallels, so it’s good to remember that even in the USSR, the change of the first person, although it did not always go smoothly, did not provoke either a civil war or a shutdown of mines.

– This time, Putin told the pure truth, from word to word, – believes member of the political council of the unregistered party “Other Russia E.V. Limonov “Andrey Milyuk

– It is known that he likes to postpone difficult decisions until the last moment, ideally to avoid any choice. Moreover, he has no good options. Another 6 years for Putin is too much even for moderate loyalists. Some of those born under Putin already have children in school by the time the next presidential term ends. Yes, and who will believe that, having made a decision once, the president will be limited to only one term.

“I sat too long,” – they will talk among themselves. Or they may say: “I got on”. Putin also does not want to become a “lame duck” ahead of time. You know how it happens: to endure less and less restrained ridicule behind the back and more and more aggressive proposals of the “towers” to choose a successor.

Therefore, neither yes nor no until the last moment, and most likely – neither one nor the other. It was not for nothing that the Constitution was changed in favor of the State Council. But this is also a difficult decision: an example is in front of your eyes Nazarbayev, who hoped to become the father of the nation after leaving the presidency, but turned out to be an honorary pensioner.

One gets the feeling that the entourage will persuade Putin to stay. There are enough people with presidential ambitions among the top officials of the state, but the risk is also great – none of them is Putin. For years reassuring the people that stability is a blessing, they themselves believed in it, and now they are not able to voluntarily take any serious risk.

Therefore, the closer to 2024, the more we will hear about “one and no alternative”, and this will be a sincere heartfelt impulse of broad bureaucratic and parliamentary masses …

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