Throughout 2020, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief priorities has been securing his continued rule in Russia. Now with the completion of a largely pre-ordained constitutional referendum—one in which the amended Russian constitution was already printed en masse weeks in advance of the vote—Putin seems to close to achieving his goal, guaranteeing his chance to remain president until 2036. Or is he? Russia was hard-hit by COVID-19, and Putin’s lackluster response has contributed to his declining poll numbers. The first two decades of Putin’s rule have brought dramatic and historic changes to Russia, Eurasia, and global politics as a whole. Now looking forward, what does the future hold in store for Putin and Russia?
Vladimir Kara-Murza, chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom; Ambassador Michael McFaul, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University; and Lilia Shevtsova, Liberal Mission Foundation, Moscow, discuss what’s in store for Russia’s future under the coming decades of Putin’s rule. Ambassador John Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, moderates.
The Kremlin and coronavirus
Despite recording some of the first cases outside of China in early 2020, Russia reported unusually low incidents of coronavirus while those in other regions climbed rapidly. However, in recent days the number of cases in the country has grown rapidly, leading to questions of honesty about initial government reports as well as how equipped Russia’s government and health systems are prepared to deal with a major outbreak. This is in addition to the Kremlin’s exploitation of the virus to spread disinformation, burnish its image abroad, and enlarge political control at home.
Wed, May 27, 2020
Russia’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic and the ensuing economic crisis does not impress. Arguably, it has hardly been worse than the average EU response—except for the Central European countries, where the pandemic arrived late and who protected themselves much better. The Russian authorities’ attempts to deny and conceal the epidemic have undermined popular trust in Putin, which is lower than ever. Nor have the authorities shown any sign of restart long dormant reforms.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020
Fabrications about COVID-19’s origins are meant to stir up anti-U.S. sentiment and fuel discord.
Article by Jakub Kalenský
Fri, Mar 27, 2020
The Russian government has been actively engaged in spreading disinformation and misinformation around the pandemic. The Kremlin has also been active in ordering internet platforms operating in the country to remove coronavirus “fake news” from their platforms, which follows previous Kremlin efforts to crack down on independent internet sites offering legitimate news.
New Atlanticist by Justin Sherman
The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting stability, democratic values and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe and Turkey in the West to the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia in the East.