Five Issues Facing Russia's President in The Next Six Years

2018/5/12 23:03:53

"He didn't really strongly gather in anything. On the contrary, he lost Ukraine. Now he seems to be gradually losing [the breakaway Moldovan region of] Transdniester, which is drifting out of Russia's sphere of influence. And Armenia is beginning to move away.... But the television view is that Putin is a victor, that he restored Crimea. But is it such an achievement to lose Ukraine with its 40 million people to gain the 2 million in Crimea?"

 

Photo: Anti-Trump demonstration in his native city of St. Petersburg, Russia

 


By Robert Coalson for RFE/RL, May 11, 2018

 

With President Vladimir Putin's inauguration for a fourth presidential term in the books, Russians are looking ahead to the next six years.

 

But many of the judo-loving, ex-KGB officer's past political tactics may not work as successfully anymore as the question "What comes next?" becomes increasingly pressing.

 

"I think this will be a very difficult period for him," Russian political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin predicted. "Perhaps it will be the most difficult period of his entire life."

RFE/RL surveyed several Russian analysts who identified five key issues that the 65-year-old Putin will confront over the next six years.

 

Dizzy with Success

 

Putin's election campaign and general image-building effort have emphasized the achievements of his 18 years in power (as either president or prime minister). Putin, the Kremlin likes to repeat, has lifted Russia off its knees.

 

"People think that since we have gotten up off our knees and reunited with Crimea, that means we have become richer," Oreshkin said in a reference to Russia's annexation of that Ukrainian peninsula in 2014, "but just the opposite is true."

 

"He has cultivated the image of one who has gathered in and raised up the Russian lands. Unfortunately for him, to a certain extent, this image is more virtual and propagandistic than real," Oreshkin said before going on to suggest that Putin's policies have instead risked alienating Russia's neighbors.

 

"He didn't really strongly gather in anything. On the contrary, he lost Ukraine. Now he seems to be gradually losing [the breakaway Moldovan region of] Transdniester, which is drifting out of Russia's sphere of influence. And Armenia is beginning to move away.... But the television view is that Putin is a victor, that he restored Crimea. But is it such an achievement to lose Ukraine with its 40 million people to gain the 2 million in Crimea?"

 

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-4-0-five ... t-six-years/29221585.html

 

 

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