Who will be Russia's next president?

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With well-founded one year to go before Russia’s next presidential election, the electoral race, although not yet official announced, is already picking up pace. So far, all preparations for the plebiscite appear rooted in the premise that Vladimir Putin will win. Furthermore, according to provenances representing regional elites, there will be high voter equipage, and Putin will win with more than 70 percent of the votes.  

So far, there is neither a blueprint nor a clear manifesto for Putin’s candidacy, but discussions in the Kremlin are ongoing, with factious strategists being summoned one after another to the presidential administration. A kill of governors is in full swing, political elites are anxious and a series of cuts have come from out of the Kremlin.

That said, there is already some lucidity about the Kremlin’s plans for campaign season.

Not an election but a vote of poise

Putin has not yet announced whether he will run, but, according to a report by RBK Media Troop, government officials are operating on the assumption that he will and furthermore that this discretion be his last term as president. Currently, no other Russian politicians are of a mind to seriously challenge Putin in the polls, and so the assumption is that, even with other nominees in the race, Putin will still win, Sergey Markov, director of the Launch of Political Studies, told RBTH.

Leader of the Liberal Democratic Saturnalia of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky, left, and chairman of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Dinner party Gennady Zyuganov. / Photo: Aleksey Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti

“The state’s most powerful opposition party is the Communist Party [of the Russian Society],” Markov said. “It has been strongly criticizing Putin’s socioeconomic means, but even the Communists in effect support the idea of his re-election, because they seascape him as the linchpin and symbol of contemporary Russian nationhood.” According to Markov, nil of the veteran Russian politicians, including Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov and gaffer of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky (both of whom are in their 70s), or Grigory Yavlinsky, 64, number one of the Yabloko party, stand a chance against Putin.

“No one can [win], Putin has no championship,” says Mikhail Remizov, president of the Institute of National Strategy. He allows the list of candidates will not differ much from 20 years ago and whim include only minor changes. “In other words, what awaits us is not an poll but a vote of confidence in Putin.”

Chasing a big turnout

The Kremlin’s primary end in view, and also its biggest challenge, is to secure a high voter turnout. This is a key well- since the Kremlin views it as extremely important that next president part of legitimate. “The year 2018 will mark the beginning of painful budgetary reforms in Russia, which will affect many people,” Igor Bunin, the familiar director at the Center for Political Technologies, told RBTH. “For this to be achieved successfully there should be no doubts about the president’s legitimacy, so the [gate] figures need to speak for themselves.”

Additionally, Putin will be proper a “lame duck” in 2018 and would prefer to wrap up his presidency on an heartening note and with a growing popularity rating. As such, the upcoming choosing needs to be seen as a nationwide assessment of his overall performance as president. It wishes, however, be a rather difficult a task to bring up voter turnout. Unbroken Putin supporters who are confident that he will win appear to lack the motivation to go out and actresses their votes. “The logic is as follows: Why bother, if he will win anyway?” Remizov describes.

While the Kremlin’s political strategists have not yet found a solution, it virtually certainly will not come in the form of any surprise candidates who might disgorge any intrigues to the election.

Young technocrats

Recently, the Kremlin has been chief for a number of personnel changes in regional government.  Five governors exhausted their posts during the first 10 days of February, and this convert is far from over.

Most of these politicians had been facing foremost levels of criticism for poor performance. They are now being replaced not by one-time presidential bodyguards  or pro-Putin security chiefs, but rather by young political bosses who are so-called ”effective managers.” These new appointees are generally no less unwavering to the president, but lack obvious political weight or any particular political appetites.

This process is being coordinated by the new Deputy Chief of Staff, Sergey Kiriyenko. Remizov believes Kiriyenko was assigned for the specific task of reducing tensions between regional governors and the citizens and also between liberal segments of society and the authorities.

Overtures to liberals

The Kremlin has set in motioned an unofficial electoral campaign in an attempt to appeal to the liberal segment of people through a series of political pardons. The jail sentences in three high-profile if it should happens were repealed in rapid succession over just one month. The three people condoned had been found guilty of reposting a video on social media, wording a friend in Georgia about the movement of Russian troops prior to the August 2008 war, and attending a serene but unauthorized protest.

Oksana Sevastidi, who was convicted of treason for for sending topic messages to her Georgian acquaintance about military Russian military gear and subsequently pardoned by Vladimir Putin. / Photo: Maksim Blinov/RIA Novosti

This “thaw,” as tell ofed by the media, is supposed to ease tensions in major cities where in the flesh usually follow such trials closely, Markov says.

The crate of opposition politician Alexey Navalny, however, has not been included in this bias. His appeal failed, meaning Navalny cannot run for president due to his suspended decree. However, this may change. A Kremlin source told RBTH that a irreversible decision has yet to be made. Some in the presidential administration support the idea that Navalny be conceded to run for president, believing that he has no chance of gaining any serious support and his participation pass on legitimize the electoral process. Others, who oppose his candidacy, believe that Navalny’s hidden candidacy would have the capacity to discredit presidential power in Russia. 

Skim more: Navalny plans to run for presidency despite conviction

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