Spring 2017

The Next Mr. Putin? The Question of Succession

Fiona Hill

Vladimir Putin, the person and the president, is the wild card in Russian politics. After what could be a quarter of a century in power by 2024 (either as president or prime minister), Putin's departure could prove utterly destabilizing. Russia's principal political problem is determining who or what replaces Putin as the fulcrum of the state system in the decade ahead. This essay considers the question of whether “Putin's Russia” – a hyperpersonalized presidency supported by informal elite networks – can transform into a depersonalized system that is rooted in formal institutions with clear, predictable mechanisms to mitigate the risks of a wrenching presidential succession.

FIONA HILL is Director of the Center on the United States and Europe and Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. Her publications include Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (with Clifford Gaddy, 2015), Energy Empire: Oil, Gas and Russia's Revival (2004), and The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold(with Clifford Gaddy, 2003).

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