According to Valery Solovey, today, the State Duma is a separate power institution that might play a more important role under the critical circumstances. Therefore, Vyacheslav Volodin, the Duma speaker, is likely to fight for holding his current post as long as possible.
In recent months, against the backdrop of a sharp fall of oil prices and worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered a grave crisis in Russia, political scientists, experts, and even opposition politicians have redoubled the criticism of the federal center and the country's authorities for any mistake. However, the federal ministers, deputies, party leaders, officials of other ranks, and even Russian President often receive a portion of criticism for their actions on reasonable grounds. Anyway, under these conditions, the issue that was very actively discussed in early 2020 has been shelved for a while. This regards the upcoming reshuffles in the hierarchy of power. Some of them have been already implemented, while others are waiting for voting on amendments to the Constitution.
Meanwhile, chances are the issue of the reshuffles in key posts of executive and even legislative powers will remain very acute.
For example, experts believe that Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma lower house of parliament, might be at risk. From now on, it is believed that his resignation is in the cards. This assumption was voiced after his recent statements with obvious implications concerning foreign policy. For instance, Volodin accused the US of the subversive activities against Russia with the help of opposition politicians and the state media.
According to Volodin, in doing so, Washington is trying to undermine Russians' trust in Vladimir Putin, whose policies have taken the country to an entirely new level. However, Volodin didn't specify what “level” exactly he meant in that far-reaching speech. On the other hand, Dr.Valery Solovey, a well-known Russian political scientist, doctor of historical sciences and former head of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), made an assessment of Volodin’s speech, noting that the rhetoric of this kind might indicate that he is to be removed from the post of the State Duma speaker.
“There's a pretty obvious explanation for all this,” Solovey said on the air of the Echo of Moscow radio station. “Volodin is likely to be dismissed as the State Duma speaker. At the same time, the post of Deputy Prime Minister is being prepared for him. However, he doesn’t want this dismissal so desperately that he tries to demonstrate his loyalty by all means. Moreover, his recent speech stands fully in line with his previous statements that “Putin is Russia, and there is no Russia without Putin.”
According to Dr. Solovey, today, the State Duma is a separate power institution that might play a more important role under the critical circumstances, for example, in case of weakening of the supreme authority. Therefore, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker, is likely to fight for holding his current post as long as possible.
“Among other things, as Deputy Prime Minister Volodin will not be able to enter the State Council,” said Solovey. “This is extremely important for him, because it is a body that replaces the President in case of his inability to perform duties. According to the previous Constitution, in this situation elections should have been announced, but the State Council is enough now.”
Solovey also stressed the role of the State Council as a mechanism for early succession of power in the country. As he has repeatedly stated, Putin is not going to stay in power until 2024.
“I said back in 2017 that the possibility of holding an early presidential election is being considered in Russia due to the same circumstances that are currently limiting Putin's ability to fulfill his presidential duties,” said Solovey. “However, these circumstances became insurmountable in the current situation.”