Global Outlook 2017: Russia checklist

Russia President Vladimir Putin makes a televised New Year’s address for 2017
Dec. 31, 2016: President Vladimir Putin looked fatherly but distant in his videotaped New Year’s address to Russians. Some wonder if he will stay after 2017 (source: dpa)
  • Liberals, siloviki and a feistier Duma will vie for influence this year
  • Donald Trump, OPEC and Syria need deft handling from the Kremlin
  • Any prolonged absence by Mr. Putin could trigger a mad scramble for power

The most interesting topic in Russian politics this year are the presidential elections – regardless of whether they will be held on schedule (March 2018) or moved up to the autumn (a frequently discussed scenario that now appears to have been abandoned).

The degree of uncertainty is extremely high, so much so that it is not even clear if Vladimir Putin will run for reelection. It is telling that people in and around the Kremlin are apt to use a deliberately vague expression – “the main candidate” – when discussing the upcoming campaign. However, there is little mystery about the underlying mechanisms that make these elections so crucial to Russian politics.

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