Spring 2017


Timothy J. Colton

The year 2017 marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution, a reminder that wrenching change has been the rule, not the exception, in modern Russia. As the Putin era winds down, there is potential for fundamental and meaningful change in Russia, but it is not inevitable. Nor will change necessarily be of the sort Western observers would approve. This introduction to the issue poses the question, explored in depth in subsequent essays, of whether fundamental change in Russia would overhaul the system, or modify or improve it without transforming it. And, if change occurs, whether it will be toward a more open and democratic political order, a more closed and authoritarian political order, or destabilization and disorder. The next ten to fifteen years may see the close of Putin’s long and eventful reign, inviting us to think afresh about Russia’s political future.

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