In recent years, the transit of power in Russia or extension of Vladimir Putin's term of office is one of the most popular subjects for a huge number of political scientists. It should be said that experts have many reasons to continue this discussion.
Firstly, as the summer of 2020 showed, the Russian authorities took a number of obvious measures that let them keep Vladimir Putin in power until at least 2036. Secondly, all these years Putin's own desire to stay in full power over the country was very obvious given his actions from the famous “castling” with Dmitry Medvedev to the latest efforts aimed at the so-called reformatting of the very structure of state power. It is against the background of Putin's new decisions that the rumors about the possibility of a future transfer of powers to the State Council surfaced and then intensified. This advisory body is likely to act as a decision-making center of some kind and the main moderator for all other branches of power. Finally, it is still too early to forget about the scenario of creating a Union State, a new country where the President can be elected from scratch, as it were.
Only in 2020, a new version appeared on the front pages of the media outlets becoming the basis for most political discussions. According to it, Vladimir Putin will no longer stay in power simply and will simply quit the presidential post. In the current circumstances, Valery Solovey, a Russian political scientist, might be considered as its main apologist. He repeatedly made statements that the Russian President would be forced to leave his post even before the end of his current term.
“Vladimir Putin is Leaving Supreme Power”
Not so long ago Solovey confirmed his predictions about the future of the Russian presidency. Notably, if previously he had spoken vaguely about Putin's readiness to quit the post of the Russian President before 2024, this time, he made an emphasis that Vladimir Putin would leave office already next year. Solovey made this statement of Echo of Moscow radio station. He assessed the actions of the Russian authorities and Putin personally during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the possible damage to his popularity rating if strict restrictive measures were enforced again.
According to Solovey, at the moment, Putin does not care about his declining popularity rating, which is highly likely under this scenario, as he has very little time left to stay in power. In Solovey’s opinion, the incumbent Russian President does not care much about the consequences of a possible lockdown or a total quarantine in terms of his popularity rating. He knows well that his tenure is almost over. “That is, at present, Putin needs the rating only to ensure the transit of power,” said Solovey. “Yes, he is leaving the supreme power position. This is a very obvious fact and it is already known to the so-called ‘Western partners’.”
Moreover, Solovey even expressed confidence that Putin might step down from the presidency next year. To his thinking, only the way how it will happen is still in question.
“Chances are Vladimir Putin will leave his post already in 2021,” said Solovey. “At the moment, the way how it will happen remains the main intrigue. Several scenarios are being discussed by the authorities. According to one of them, Putin might run the State Council, and another person might become the Russian President. However, the situation has recently become more complicated. The implementation of these plans was to begin with the process of establishing of the Union State with Belarus. However, the protest actions disturbed them. As a result, everything has been postponed. Although it is common practice in modern politics when things go sideways and not as they were originally planned.”