- Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his government are dangerously unpopular
- If popular anger targets President Vladimir Putin as well, the country could become ungovernable
- As the 2018 presidential election nears, the authorities can no longer afford lavish spending to buy support
- The Kremlin will tighten control at home and probably try to divert pubic attention with an external conflict
With less than 12 months to go until the next presidential election in Russia, the outcome appears a forgone conclusion. In March 2018, President Vladimir Putin will be reelected for another six-year term, and in March 2024, he will come up with some ploy to remain in power – sidestepping the constitutional ban on serving more than two consecutive terms. Mr. Putin, it would seem, is here to stay. The real question is, at what cost – to Russia and much of the world.