INSIGHT n°1 – 2016 / Stephen J. Cimbala, “Exeunt Putin, or Goodbye Russia?”

StephenCimbala “Exeunt Putin, or Goodbye Russia?”

Stephen J. Cimbala, Penn State Brandywine

According to a number of politicians, pundits and academic experts, the departure of Vladimir Putin from power in Russia is only a matter of time.  Further, some argue that Putin’s loss of power will be followed inevitably by the demise of post-Soviet Russia and its breakup into a much smaller Russia and a number of new mini-states.  The expected fall of post-Soviet Russia is predicated on several assumptions.  As Russia’s petro-state economy gradually collapses, Putin will lose legitimacy and popular support, especially among Russia’s professional middle class, which will turn decisively against him.  In addition, Putin’s ruling circle of kleptocrats and siloviki (people of force, including former and current holders of positions in intelligence, security and defense) will fall out among themselves and their control will disintegrate into internal political warfare.  Finally, citizens and politicians in economically disadvantaged or politically restless regions of Russia will seize local powers of government and economic assets, making the “center” gradually irrelevant and its control, nonexistent.   Continue reading