20 years have passed since Vladimir Putin became president of the Russian Federation for the first time. In fact, he retained state authority for two decades even when he was the head of government being replaced by D. Medvedev. Apparently, current V. Putin`s presidential term will not be the last as well. And this is quite explainable: too much is at stake – too many deaths and illegally appropriated millions. However, in order to retain the authority, V. Putin needs to change the rules of the game substantially.
Personal security of Kremlin owner and safety of family capital directly depend on the stability of the state government and the interest of the elites in maintaining the status quo. W. Jurasz, political observer of the Polish Onet web portal, offers several scenarios for the possible development of the situation in Russia in the context of recent resignation of the Russian authorities and Putin’s announced amendments to the Constitution.
One of them may be the retention of power by V. Putin taking Chinese model as an example. That is, the task is to develop a formula that empowers him to run the country at sole judgment holding a formal position, as in the case of Deng Xiaoping (who, having left all government posts, retained control of the state being a president of the “chess” association).
The second option is associated with long-term exaggerated attempts to create a union state with Belarus. Current constitutional reform in no way means a rejection of the idea of joining the Belarusian state. Declared weakening of presidential powers may signify both Putin’s desire to become president of the “chess” association, and clearing the way for establishing confederation of Russia and Belarus, enabling him to come into office as chairman. In this case, an attempt to weaken the position of the president appears quite logical.
According to the Polish expert, the option of establishing a new state, as one of the authority transition schemes, looks unlikely, since Putin has enough resources to amend the Constitution at his discretion.
Finally, it is entirely possible that Putin pursue provoking clashes between the Kremlin towers, followed by the most promising politicians falling victims. Thus, having neutralized competitors in good time, Putin may stay in power. Meanwhile, further plans for D. Medvedev still remain unknown. Perhaps Putin’s long-time ally has dropped out of the big game, either the reward for his loyalty and ability to cope with humiliation (in form of demotion to a lower position) would be his return to big politics.
Regardless of the specific scenario of power transit that Putin would ultimately implement, one thing is clear – the constitutional reform is far from being advantageous neither for Russia nor for international stability. The outcome of the reform will be the establishment of an authoritarian repressive regime in the Russian Federation as closed to the world as possible. Renouncing the supremacy of international law over national legislation will inevitably constrain the influence of international judicial and supranational institutions on the human rights situation within the state enabling the Russian authorities to “legitimately” ignore the decisions of international institutions. And most importantly, adoption of this rule will allow Putin to avoid responsibility for many crimes committed outside the Russian Federation. In the implementation of foreign policy, aggression and arbitrariness will become regular. Moreover, further development of military capacity, as well as the activation of Russian agents in Europe, will increase the level of threat posed by Russia, especially for neighboring countries such as Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland, which have already become targets for Russian information aggression.