The Russian public’s appetite for change has increased considerably in the past two years, according to a new poll by the Carnegie Moscow Center and the Levada Center. What kind of change do people want, and what are they prepared to do about it?
If the thirst for political change continues to gain momentum in Russia, a full-scale demand for political freedoms and alternatives may emerge quite soon.
ANDREI KOLESNIKOV, DENIS VOLKOV
Most Russians are dumbfounded and intrigued, but not necessarily angry at Putin’s strategy of commencing constitutional change before anyone expected it. This may only change if people’s current expectations are confounded, and Putin doesn’t step down as president after all.
Belarus’s resolution to become less dependent on Russian oil has nothing to do with its economy. Minsk is making a political statement with the aim of depriving Moscow of one of its main bargaining chips in their relationship.
Putin’s proposed amendments to various roles amount to something resembling an insurance policy, which suggests that the president has already decided who his successor will be, though he may not name that person for another three years.
President Putin’s unexpected proposals this week to change the Russian constitution prompted the instant resignation of the Russian government. What’s he trying to achieve, and will he succeed?
Of the constitutional reforms put forward by Putin, what will really change a lot is the proposal to give the Russian constitution—including repressive Russian legislation—priority over international law. This violation of the usual hierarchy is nothing short of a legal revolution.
Having declared themselves mediators in the civil war in Libya, Russia and Turkey will try to replicate the model of cooperation and mutual accommodation they developed in Syria.
Multilateralism should not be conceived as necessarily cooperative: one set of multilateral institutions can be used to challenge another set.
The ruling party will clearly retain its central place under any future scenario for the transition of power, and anyone who hurries to jump on the bandwagon today will likely come out on top.