Putin in 2018: who can replace the President

About the next presidential elections known in principle already done. You know, when they will be known for many potential candidates. You know, one of them to the polls will not be allowed… However, in this mosaic are missing a key puzzle, without which all her informative not worth a penny: it is unknown what are the plans for March 2018 Vladimir Putin, whose rating today at times exceeds the rating of other candidates for Supreme power combined. The longer the silence of the President, the larger versions of rumors and speculation.

Try to understand where are the borders of the possible and what the hell, that is to say mephistophelean clever combination, can be driven in quiet pools of the Kremlin’s policy.

photo: Alex geldings

You never dreamed of

Vladimir Putin, as usual, refuses to answer questions about their participation in the upcoming elections: time, they say, is not yet ripe. They say, we still have to see what will happen in the country and the world, etc. etc. But his latest response to a familiar stimulus is clearly distracting from the overall series. The answer to the question, is not it time already to tell about the electoral plans announced recently in the Beijing press conference consisted of one word- “no.” Of course, Vladimir Vladimirovich is not called a chatterbox, but the sparseness unusual for him. With very high probability, this suggests that the issue for some reason disliked him.

Followed soon after this response, presidential press Secretary to close the question — not whether Putin intends to go on elections as the independent candidate? a little more lengthy, but no less surprising: “No campaign… No such thought, no such plans”. Wonder explain, not the content of the response (it is clear that anything other than left in “nesoznanku the dead”, Dmitry Peskov wait and did not have to play “farther ahead” press secretaries are not supposed to), and his hasty categorization. Like Peskov was asked about the political plans of the chief, and about something impossibly indecent. Well, for example, about whether or not whether the President is going to change citizenship or, God forbid, sexual orientation. It is unlikely these insinuations, he refuted with more energy. But if the patriotism and masculinity of Vladimir Putin, no doubt, in his lack of reflection on the upcoming presidential race believe, to put it mildly, difficult. Really, you can say, can’t believe it. It is clear that the President thinks and plans. But nothing is yet built, whether the plan is so audacious that even the fact of its existence is kept in secrecy.

Interesting, by the way, the statement was made in early may, Vladimir Zhirinovsky — one of the now out-of-shadow members of the upcoming presidential campaign. Vladimir Zhirinovsky urged not to jump to conclusions about Putin’s plans. According to the leader of the liberal democratic party, we must prepare for surprises, “He likes to do the original course”. Still unknown, is intrigued by the leader of LDPR, will Putin in the elections or it will be replaced by another “representative of the Kremlin groups.” The casting of replacement candidates, according to him, is in full swing: “There’s ten people there”. “All decisions will be made in December, — Zhirinovsky predicts. — The New year gift will be.”

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, of course, not Nostradamus and not a Kremlin insider. However, the degree of awareness of political processes are clearly above the average among the experts Zhirinovsky has a reputation as a very knowledgeable person. However, it is also glorious in its extravagance, but interesnyie these statements are not similar. If TRP wants to show off, you would have told something more definite and sensational than “nothing is known, nothing has been decided”. No, apparently, this time the lips of Vladimir Zhirinovsky was given exactly what he had in mind. And, it seems, not only him.

Weary slave

Reigning in the capital politoske the feeling of uncertainty, instability, insecurity inevitably transferred to the apparatus. According to information coming from different sources, work in many Federal departments virtually stopped. In any case, the work is focused not on today, but on a slightly more long term. And officials can understand if you do not know, who and what criteria will be used tomorrow to evaluate your efforts, it is better not to hurry.

It is obvious that in the absence of a more or less clear idea about what will happen in a year with the homeland and with us, the disruption will only increase. Five years ago, in 2011, in terms of economic and political stability, it was possible for a very long time to keep the situation in limbo. But then are clearly exposed: stunned Putin-Medvedev reshuffle, the public poured its outrage on the street. And today protests are growing without any changes. And it would be strange to expect complete loyalty from his subjects, the real income fall for the fourth consecutive year.

Of adds fuel to the fire and the government itself. Not having balances within the political system, our zabronzovevshy “Akela” often make mistakes, often they change the sense of proportion. As a result, the number of opponents “vertical” increases by leaps and bounds. Truckers and Kuban farmers, supporters of Alexei Navalny and the Moscow opponents of the renovation, fans of Kirill Serebrennikov and restless bloggers… And this is now. Whether will be in the autumn, when, as predicted, some politicians, local protests can even more multiply, to intensify and merge into a national one. To pull in these conditions until December suicide for the government. The country could easily go racing. Even September seems in this sense a too risky life.

Advance warning citizens that the President is willing and able “to repeat,” not a whim, not a luxury but a means of stabilising the political situation. And not necessarily saying something directly. There are a bunch of roundabout ways of conveying the same message — using unknown “sources” in the Kremlin through the Spassky gate entree to politicians, experts and journalists… and the President himself is quite able to traverse a thin, non-binding hint. They say that the decision “you will like, will be satisfied” — so he answered similar questions five years ago. But now for some reason he actually says nothing.

A Holy place is never empty: the lack of information make up rumors. And according to the rumors, persistently circulating for some time in Russian political circles, the President is experiencing health problems. That is why, they say, and in no hurry to reveal the electoral map. No confirmation of these conjectures, however, have not received, but the smoke may indeed not without some of the embers. Whatever you say, Vladimir Vladimirovich is already far not young and strong as 17 and a half years ago, at the time when you first assumed the post No. 1. On October 7th of this year, GDP turns 65. Sensation, by contrast, would be if people at this age had no sores.

But even if we assume that Putin’s flesh, as before, okay, hardly anyone will undertake to say that the presidential marathon had no effect on PEP, psychoemotional condition. “All these eight years I plowed like a galley slave, from morning till night and did it with full return of forces”. It was said by the President on 14 February 2008. Since then, nine years later, even more intense. Perhaps Dmitry Peskov does not turn the language to negatively answer the question of whether the President was tired during his watch. Of course, tired. And, of course, wants to live a normal human life.

Yes, actually, he admitted it, communicating at the end of last year from Chelyabinsk working “I Love to travel, of course. And today all my trips down to the fact that I’m in the airport, then from airport move into a room, then back to the airport… And I would, of course, different ride, look at nature, look at some of the historic sights”. Conjures up the immortal Pushkin’s lines, describing a similar state of mind: “Long ago, a weary slave, I devised an escape in the abode of further proceedings and clean neg…”

Emergency exit

In short, it is possible that one of the solutions to the problems in 2018, which revolve in my head today, Vladimir Putin is, so to speak, a classic of the genre: “I’m tired, I’m leaving.” The normal human reaction to years of stress. However, when these words were uttered for the first time, the question of who will replace the President, was not. The Yeltsin team, working through numerous trials and errors, at the end of the casting picked up such a successor, on which the electorate does not love enough so far. Now as obvious a favorite is missing. As correctly stated by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a list of potential successors has at least a dozen people.

Often called Dmitry Medvedev and Alexei Dyumin, the current Governor of the Tula region, and in the recent past — commander of the special operations Forces of the armed forces (a little further off — presidential guard). The first frame tested in political battles, the second — including in real battles. In the same context also mentions the names of Sergei Ivanov, Sergei Shoigu, Sergei Lavrov, Vyacheslav Volodin, Yuri Trutnev, Anton Vaino, and, oddly enough, Sergei Kiriyenko. However, the last two chief of the presidential administration and his first Deputy — informed sources suggest rather be considered as candidates for Prime Minister.

While stocks Vaino listed, according to our information, highly enough. It is believed that this promising young man may eventually claim for the top post in the country. And we know even who said it. According to available information, in the support group consists of Anton Vaino fellow oligarchs Rotenberg and the head of Rostec Sergey Chemezov.

On the bench are also rumored, two Grand ladies: the head of the accounts chamber Tatyana Golikova and the Chairman of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina. They say, Vladimir Vladimirovich is very impressed with the success of MS Nabiullina, Golikova well and have long walks in his favorites. Both, however, as Vaino, consider today in the first place as a potential host of the White house.

In short, choose on taste. But such a wealth of choice says that a full-fledged alternative to Putin is not yet visible. Theoretically possible, however, a compromise scenario, combining the advent of a successor with the preservation of Putin’s control over the situation. According to, for example, political scientist Valery Solovey, prepared several options for constitutional reform. According to one model, the President will perform the ritual, representation, and the real power will be at the head of the state Council, which, of course, will be Putin. It’s kind of like the current political structure friendly to Iran, where the head # 1 is not the President and not the Prime Minister, and the Rahbar is the Supreme religious leader of the country.

Another option provides for the introduction of the post of Vice-President, with whom Putin goes to the polls and which then sends the reins. However, the expert is very skeptical about the likelihood of such scenarios: “Politically they may not be devoid of elegance, but is technically infeasible. With the current quality of public administration this will simply cause chaos.”

The war of succession

However, if selected and blessed by the President, the successor will come from the “parental control” and begin to set their own rules — built to destroy Putin’s system of power, ridicule them nurtured the political and oligarchical elite, the mess will turn out at least as much. Remember what precautions were accompanied by the decision “problems-2012”. A new head of state, despite his unconditional devotion to the “political father”, proven by decades of faithful service impeccable, like a fragile vase overlaid on all sides with foam Putin’s staff, not allowing to form, at its discretion, even the presidential administration. While Putin himself was breathing successor in his head, controlling his every move with posts of head of government and leader of the ruling party.

And, despite all these sophisticated security mechanisms, despite the loyalty and obedience Medvedev, the monolith of power, the elites ran clear rift that split the “Medvedev” and “Putin”. The matter came to an open split. Just four years is not enough for this. Now, when the term of the legislature increased to six, the risks of the operation “Successor” has grown substantially. But if Putin also will not occupy important positions in government, the chances of preserving the status quo and is close to zero. A new broom will inevitably sweep in new ways.

The least risky option in this respect — all the same right Medvedev. But, first, guarantees, as already mentioned, does not give it: the king may play entourage. Especially not the, frankly, strong king. And second, because of recent scandals, the project “Medvedev 2.0” creates additional risks. No, Medvedev, of course, can win the election. And probably even win. But the victory will be a Pyrrhic victory for the government. Independence — not independence, but mass protests with the slogan “Neimana — resign!”, with rubber ducks on sticks and thrown over the shoulders by cords of sneakers it is possible to imagine. The lack of respect for the head of state — a factor that is not conducive to political stability.

In short, like it or not, the best successor to Putin from the point of view of Putin himself — a politically strong, popular, but it is absolutely true — is Putin himself. It’s really not “Dimon”. If only, as they say, health does not disappoint.

But not the fact that the extension of Putin’s rule — in the usual or Iranian version — will benefit the country. For all time of its stay in power the current master of the Kremlin has not managed to create a full, balanced political system that would guarantee a painless transit authority. What about the arrival of opposition, even if the transfer of the helm to someone from members of his own team fraught with disasters! If nothing changes now, so the problem of the “continuity” after some time there again. And this time in a much more acute form.

The long wait is not necessary. To the fortuneteller do not go: the war for Putin’s legacy will begin immediately after the election of Vladimir Putin at last permitted him by the Constitution period. The echoes of the approaching conflict heard today — in the form of scandals, intrigues, investigations, striking alternately one and then the other “Kremlin tower”. And judging by these first shots, vendetta promises to be hot.

And all because it is not necessary to postpone for tomorrow what you should have done today and especially the day before yesterday. As seen from historical, and just life experience, the longer delayed the inevitable events, including a change of government, the greater the price for them in the end to pay.

Stanislav BELKOVSKY, a political analyst, journalist: “If Putin will be health problems, alternatives, Medvedev and Dyumin”

— Putin, Libra horoscope, this type of solution, as participation in the election has at the last moment. In this case, they will be taken in August or September — the traditional time for Russia making such decisions. If Putin will be fine with health that is not obvious, then he will be President. I must say that do not have enough information on this subject. In addition, as a person who studied in medical school, would be considered unethical to comment on something that I don’t have access, and the medical history of a President I have ever seen. But such rumors. They say that Putin has serious medical problems.

The circumstances that may force the President to withdraw from participating in the elections, I would also his desire to live a private life. But of course health comes first because the desire to live a private life, rests in the insufficient ability to guarantee the security of Vladimir Putin in today’s world, where he sharpened the tooth a very serious force.

If Putin will have problems with health, then alternative options, according to today are Dmitry Medvedev and Alexey Dyumin, Governor of the Tula region. The latter not only have annexed Crimea (2014 Dyumin was the commander of the special operations Forces of the armed forces, who played a key role in the events of “Crimean spring”. — “MK”), which certainly is a great merit in the eyes of Putin, but as you know, and saved Vladimir Putin from the bear. And, knowing, as Mr Putin likes animals, wouldn’t kill a predator, what would be the most obvious solution, but simply forced him to leave (according to the story Dyumin who long worked in the presidential guard during the stay of Vladimir Putin in a “far object” to the entrance of the house, where the President spent the night, came up big bear — Dyumin drove the beast, discharging a pistol under the feet of clip. — “MK”).

Dyumin victory over the bear — is largely a symbolic victory over a Gestalt of the “United Russia”. It seems to me, Putin it is time to win. However, I would not hurry with conclusions about the President. It, I remember, once been written off in 2007. And then he was suddenly the President. Please just do not interpret my words as a statement that Medvedev will be the successor. No, I do not approve. I’m just saying that he is not excluded from the possible list of successors. Despite the plume-related scandals and even thanks to him. This trail only strengthens the position of Medvedev as Putin likes people who are disgraced “in the name of the Lord,” that is him.

Valery SOLOVEI, a political analyst, historian: “There are people trying to dissuade Putin from participation in presidential elections”

— I am inclined to believe that Putin has already decided on the nomination for another presidential term. In the development of expert-analytical groups by order of administration of the President working on all aspects of the presidential campaign, but it delicately is not Putin, but the “the candidate №1”. Nevertheless, it is believed that this decision, if not a foregone conclusion, it is most likely. However, there is still some gap that is associated with a number of circumstances. One of them is obvious: it is very good to be President in a country with growing oil prices and very poor — in a country with stagnant oil prices. Moreover, stagnating at a low level. In a country that is not only a serious crisis, but also in the foreign policy of semi-isolation.

It is obvious that Lavrov special here to win this to happen in a very toxic environment. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Putin is delaying the announcement of the final decision. In the hope that the economic situation will begin to improve. By the way, one of the problems Putin’s campaign — the lack of a positive agenda. To articulate it — so that could cause in society, confidence and enthusiasm — not yet obtained. But to build a campaign on the inertia of the agenda is necessary, they say, to be patient, and everything will be fine again — already risky. In the country is political excitement, the opposition sentiments are growing. And that means we need to offer something new.

Did not exclude that Putin is just very tired. Mr Putin is already a very long time at the pinnacle of power, and this leads to moral and psychological burnout. In addition, judging by the ongoing recovery in the environment of “tron”, there are people trying to dissuade Vladimir Putin from the presidential election, to convince him of the necessity to nominate a new candidate. True, might look like option B — question the answer to which, I think, not know, and Mr Putin himself.

Until recently, promising to “spare” option was considered Dmitry Medvedev. But due to the anti-corruption campaign launched by Navalny, the chance to elect him, I think not. But Medvedev light wedge, of course, did not agree. The list of potential candidates to succeed has about a dozen people. It has the including people who are close enough to Putin, but who are now virtually invisible. Just as no one at the time did not notice Putin or Medvedev.

However, since the last operation “Successor” has changed the situation. A crisis situation can easily escalate into a political crisis. Today you can see a lot of local protests. In the fall they can start to grow with a new force and merge into nationwide. In these circumstances, the need seems to be to find a strong candidate. But a strong candidate is a challenge, a threat to the ruling elite group that now controls the situation and who is very afraid of change. Because well understands that the changes will lead to a fundamental change in its status. Well even if you manage to save life, and the fact that they will lose the assets, for sure.

In short, the situation remains uncertain. Incidentally, to recall the recent statement of Mr. Zhirinovsky: all, they say, will be surprised when Putin will announce its decision. We know, Vladimir Zhirinovsky alerts if you are not ready solutions, at least on the options that are being discussed. If to proceed from the psychological style of Putin, I think he would try to save the situation is suspended as long as possible. That’s not good for the country, which is experiencing a deep systemic crisis.

Russian bureaucracy used to work in an environment where it clearly understands what he wants power. Judging from the signals that reach me from various government offices, the state apparatus is growing disorganization, confusion. Officials postpone the case, I prefer to refrain from any solutions, because they do not see the strategic perspective. Maybe Putin also knows it, but seems like nobody. In result, the already low efficiency of the state machine falls dramatically. Very similar to what was in the apparatus of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers in 1990-1991.

Gleb PAVLOVSKY, President of the effective policy Foundation: “Putin should look for another position in the state”

— Vladimir Putin does not like to make decisions, especially decisions about his future. Usually it pulls to the last, until the moment when it is formally obliged to do so. But this year, I believe he will announce his decision a little earlier — in the summer, no later than the beginning of autumn. I think Putin wants to be President and sees no obstacles that would prevent this. But threat factors for him is he created a management scheme. Unfortunately, we have not developed a neutral state bureaucracy. There is confusion of personal relationships and struggling clans. Today the clans have joined the fight for control of the center of decision-making — that is, over Putin. The clan which will take over Putin’s campaign in 2018, and will then consider himself as the champion and Putin — as their prey.

In this situation, of course, Putin himself. He wanted that the office was going through it, and eventually overloaded with unnecessary obligations, having lost the real control. Copyright “Putin” in charge too many and too easy. I think the President is looking for, how to keep authorship in this process. He doesn’t seem to like those scenarios the extension of the presidency, who shoved him different interest groups. Part of the reason Putin is pulling with the announcement of participation in elections of 2018. Perhaps he would like to combine the best aspects of different scenarios. But the question of choice is always a matter of giving up something, and Putin, apparently, has not yet decided what to give up. More precisely — from anyone. Any variant is associated with the need to sacrifice some figures from his inner circle.

It is unlikely he will be able to keep this inner circle as it is today. All can be seen that to preserve the status quo impossible. Change is accelerating not only in the Kremlin the environment, but also in the whole country. This is what I call “politicization” when people realizing their interests, they begin to defend them publicly. One protects your yard, the other the Palace and a boat. A vivid example — Alisher Usmanov, posted on the Internet his appeal to Alexei Navalny. He is also fighting for their interests as best he can and in their own language. And such cases will be more. The scandal with the Moscow renovation showed that while the old establishment — both official and opposition — idle, citizens are taking the protection of the interests into their own hands. The country has become more politically Mature, to ignore it now.

Strategically, the difficulty for Putin is that he fulfilled his program. All he could squeeze from the team that nearly 20 years ago, came to the Kremlin, made. Much has been done wrong, but it is difficult for others. Add something different to this it will fail. At our age — over 65 years — innovation is difficult. I think he should look for another worthy position in the state.

An alternative fourth of Putin’s term, Russia has, though hardly described in any of the hardware scenarios. Our futures are located on a scale from attempts to save the status quo before the collapse, the crisis of the end of the regime. But we are interested in the fact that the state was updated, and not his collapse. When the wreckage comes to a boil again struggle, the same pattern of government will be recreated on the still more primitive and miserable level.

In the common interest would be to involve the establishment in a discussion of the way out of the impasse is obvious for the masses and the elites. Look how sadly plucked all the opposition presidential candidates. But why not discuss along with candidates from the power, the alternative to Putin? Isn’t anyone at all? But this is nonsense. For 20 years, frames of power drew in almost all capable people. What prevents the Kremlin to organize the primaries? Time and opportunity for that. But, of course, the old scripts — such as the “plebiscite”, “successor”, or “tandem,” is worthless. The country needs a more rational and understandable management schemes.

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