Throughout the whole 2020 Russian political scientists have been discussing the possible forthcoming transfer of transition of power in Russia, accompanied by an acute political crisis. The first expert to predict such an outcome was Valery Solovei.
Such predictions have indirect confirmations, namely, the actions of the powers that be. First, they organized the 2020 Constitutional Referendum which resulted in the extension of Putin’s ability to stay in office through to 2036. Many saw this as reluctance of the incumbent Russian president to step down. But several Russian political scientists believe this was done to save him from the image of a lame duck in the eyes of Russian elites, who could otherwise plunge into inner power struggle. In other words, Putin's aim was to win time and facilitate peaceful transfer of power.
Another sign is the adoption of a law granting all Russian ex-presidents immunity against prosecution for their actions both during and before the term of office. The establishment of the State Council and ratification of its status in the Constitution also signal the looming transfer of power. On the whole, some political scientists are sure that the outlines of future transfer will become clear soon.
However, the political elite`s plans will most likely face severe opposition from certain political groups. The country is facing an acute political crisis and a rise of the population's protest activity, which, given the election to the State Duma scheduled for September 2021, will result in a politically challenging year for Russia. Yuri Shvets, an ex-FSB colonel and Vladimir Putin`s groupmate at the 401st KGB School said in an interview with Mark Feygin that the president is mapping out his course of actions in the worst-case scenario and, among other things, up to fleeing the country. "Putin`s associates in Western countries are also working to protect the incumbent leader. Two separate trustworthy sources shared truly amazing information with me: with the aid of his long-time acquaintance, Gerhard Schroder, Putin is looking into a possibility to move to Germany. For instance, he may go there as a medical tourist and stay there forever. In other words, he’s contemplating an escape to Germany, de facto with Schroder’s assistance.
“Putin's situation is forcing him to devise a contingency plan. He knows full well that when he's out of the office, no constitutional amendments or immunity can guarantee his safety in Russia. Unfortunately for Putin, his prospective successors are striving to replace him, and he understands what repercussions this striving may have. He sees that he might have to take off one day, and he needs to be acceptable in the West for this. I know that behind-the-scenes talks are already in motion. The world saw such a turnabout in the late 1980s: in 1987 and 1988 our country and the US were flexing their nuclear muscles, and a couple of years later Gorbachev received his Nobel Peace Prize. "- Shvets added.