In order to keep the ranks closed and to sustain the Stockholm syndrome of the fortress’s defenders there must be constant discoveries of “a fifth column” and “national traitors.” That’s the only sense in which Russian authorities need liberals.
Russia’s current president is not planning on staying at the helm forever, since he is not ready to raise the retirement age. His inaction will destroy Russia’s economy, at the very latest by 2030.
There is little reason to believe that the Russian middle class will react to the ongoing financial and economic crisis with protests or renewed calls for change. Instead, it seems almost certain that it will opt for strategies of survival and perseverance.
The Western approach to Russia is predicated on the supposition that continued pressure on the country will cause Vladimir Putin’s regime to make concessions or even crumble. However, this is far from the truth.
The Chechen connection to the Nemtsov’s murder has split the ruling elite. Putin’s problem is that Kadyrov has completely cleared Chechnya of all rivals, either Chechen or Russian—having fed and groomed his “dragon,” he has no Plan B in Chechnya.
What happens to an authoritarian country that’s left without its leader and the founder of the regime?
Putin and Kadyrov resemble Siamese twins, whose separation will result in complication for both of them, and thus for the country at large. Neither one of them stood to benefit from Boris Nemtsov’s death.
A discussion about the heated politics of the Iran talks, Putin, and past U.S. secretaries of state.
The perpetrators of violence have staked their claim to power, or at least a more active role in formulating the regime’s identity and methods. If we are to assume that the president is not directly linked to Nemtsov’s murder, it seems that someone else wants to push Putin in a more decisive and punitive direction.
It is impossible to imagine Ramzan Kadyrov calling his subordinates and directly instructing them to commit the murder of Boris Nemtsov. However, the xenophobia and fear of the West characteristic of some segments of Russia’s Muslim community, including Muslims in the North Caucasus, creates a favorable climate for such acts.