Russia’s Forever Ruler

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The Power Vertical Podcast at CEPA

And so it begins. This week, columns of tanks, troops, and military hardware paraded through Moscow as Vladimir Putin looked on from Red Square, flanked by World War II veterans in medals and uniforms — but not in masks — as throngs of not-socially-distanced Muscovites lined the streets.

Xi Jinping and Emmanuel Macron were supposed to be there, but took a pass. But hey, at least Alyaksandr Lukasnenka showed up this year.

And next week comes the main event, as Russians go to the polls to vote on constitutional amendments that could keep Putin in power until 2036.

The bread-and-circuses spectacle of this week’s parade and the tightly choreographed political theater of next week’s constitutional referendum are designed to establish a fresh veneer of legitimacy to effectively turn Putin into Russia’s forever ruler.

Listen to the Power Vertical Podcast as Vladimir Kara-Murza, Chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation and Vice President of the Free Russia Foundation, joins Brian Whitmore, Maria Snegovaya, and Donald N. Jensen to consider if the Kremlin’s plans will work.


June 26, 2020