How Russia’s Eternal President Has Changed His Country
Russians will be going to the polls on March 18, but it is already clear who will emerge victorious. Vladimir Putin has been at the helm for almost 20 years — both dramatically changing his country and subjugating it at the same time.
Vladimir Putin has been in power for almost two decades, longer even than Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet general secretary whose tenure seemed eternal. An entire generation of Russians has grown up knowing nothing other than Putin’s Russia.
“Authoritarianism from below,” is how some people refer to the model
Navalny is a charismatic populist. He can get a crowd behind him quicker than anyone else in Russia. And he is a quick study. He now links his favorite issue — the corruption of Putin’s elite — with the growing economic misery in the country.
The president needs to begin arranging for a successor, given that he’s not allowed to run for re-election in 2024. But it appears he considers himself to be irreplaceable. It isn’t clear which path he will ultimately choose: That of pulling a successor out of a hat on the eve of the election six years from now. Or that of having the constitution amended to either get rid of term limitations or to create a new supreme state office.
My note: today, the Chinese President beat Putin by the authoritarian decision: https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/11/asia/china-presidential-term-limits-intl/index.html
One of those startups is Tryfit, which produces foot scanners for the athletic shoe industry. The company’s founder went to university in both Ireland and Russia and lives in Silicon Valley in California, commuting regularly to Skolkovo. The company is registered in Dublin. It is a business model that can only work if Russia and the West remain open to each other. But shifting priorities in the Kremlin and estrangement from the West haven’t been good for Skolkovo.