There is a new political majority in Russia. It doesn’t believe in the country’s rulers, its opposition, or its institutions. This nameless, voiceless majority is characterized only by general discontent; it knows only what it stands against.
After the recent breakdown of the ceasefire in Syria and the escalation of the Russian bombardment of Aleppo, Carnegie.ru asked three experts, one in Russia, one in the United States and one in the Middle East to comment on the question: can the United States and Russia Still Achieve Something Together in Syria?
The Russian authorities delivered a resounding victory for the ruling party in the 2016 parliamentary election after reaching the conclusion that they showed weakness in 2011 and the Russian opposition exploited that. This will shape their strategy for the next presidential election in 2018.
The most likely scenario for eastern Ukraine is that a low-level conflict will continue to simmer. Moscow needs to give up its pipe dream that a pro-Russian government will come to power in Kiev, and forget its convenient but misleading stereotypes about its large neighbor.
Azerbaijani society is changing more rapidly than the authorities realize. The country will face political turbulence if the elites do not bridge the gap between rulers and ruled.
In light of Minsk’s strict control over the electoral process, the election of two oppositionists to Belarusian parliament suggests that President Alexander Lukashenko is looking to improve relations with the West. How far will he go?
The look of Russia’s parliamentary election was different, even if the results were the same. Russia’s ruling regime is trying to preserve its legitimacy by being more flexible and more respectable. This system may eventually contain the seeds of its own transformation.
Russia’s parliamentary election campaign again dealt a crushing blow to the country’s liberal parties, which still believe the key to their success is appearing on television, whether in commercials or in debates. This is a losing strategy; liberals must learn to listen to the Russian people’s needs to garner support.
Modern western leaders might wish to consider that, in the end, what killed the Soviet system was not Reagan’s Star Wars, or even the scarcity of goods in the shops. What actually did it was the loss of public faith in the domestic political system. So, improve or beware of exposure.
The detailed results of the forthcoming elections to Russia’s lower house of parliament are less important than the conclusions the Kremlin draws from them. Vladimir Putin’s system is less and less interested in old-style political competition. The new Duma can become a launching pad for those who want to make their careers in the new Putin elite that forms after the 2018 presidential election.