Our Take

All Hail the Tsar!

All Hail the Tsar!
Vladimir Putin began his fourth term as Russian President and consolidated his hold of the world's most geographically vast country. With the FIFA World Cup in June and July, Putin will have an opportunity to show off his vision of Russia to the world. Despite condemnation in the West for his actions in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine as well as his support for the Assad regime, Putin is today stronger than ever before. In fact, rising oil and gas prices will give Putin and Russia the economic wherewithal to invest in the economy which has been moribund thanks to lower oil prices. However, no matter how much they may dislike Putin, the Western security and intelligence apparatus know that they have no scope of easing him aside from power - he is no Breshnev or Krushchev; Putin, in terms of his grip on power, is a modern Stalin.
But, according to Russia’s constitution, this will be Putin’s fourth and final term as Russian President. Of course, Putin has ‘bypassed’ the Constitution before where he appointed his loyal deputy Dmitri Medvedev as President while he became Prime Minister for two terms. Medvedev is today back at his side as Prime Minister once more. But Russia faces challenges like never before, its once vaunted science and technology industry is decimated with the best scientists leaving for the West or China. Its population has been declining and economic opportunities for young Russians are declining, forcing many young women to take up less reputable professions and masses of drunk, unemployed young men can be found on the streets. Putin might be the undisputed Tsar of modern Russia, but things are not as hunky-dory as they seem on the outside. 


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