What would a post-Putin Russia look like?
Vladimir Putin still seems to be firmly in the saddle in Russia. According to the independent opinion research institute Levada Center, his approval ratings among the Russian population rose further in July compared to the previous month. Even so, the Russian opposition and exiled press reflect on what would happen to the country if the current balance of power there were to collapse.
Hope only after total collapse
The Prague-based Russian political scientist Alexander Morozov writes in Novaya Gazeta Europe that Russia can only have a future once the existing system implodes:
“The 30 years following the collapse of the Soviet Union have ended with biblical despotism, the total nullification of the rule of law and the destruction of entire cities. Anyone who is willing to assume responsibility and lead the country out of this ruinous state is not to be envied. Today we cannot pin our hopes on either politicians or organisations. We can only put our hope in one thing: the more all-encompassing the catastrophe, the greater the chances are that it will awaken extensive countervaiing and life-giving forces.”
Like Serbia after Milošević's fall
The Insider sees Russia moving towards a cooperative stance:
“Any post-Putin government (even one made up of ex-Putinists) would seek negotiations and a way out of the war. If only to try to retrieve frozen assets from abroad, annul or significantly cut the West's blacklists, and bring back the productive times of cooperation with transnational corporations. Unlike Germany in 1945, Russia would not be occupied and would not lie in ruins. One could say the situation is more like that of Serbia in 2000 after the fall of Slobodan Milošević. Back then, part of the political class swept the most notorious representatives of the old regime from the stage and even transferred Milošević himself to the International Tribunal in The Hague.”
Only Soviet-style repression for now
The New Times explains why Russians should not be blamed for not toppling the Putin regime:
“That's like blaming the citizens of the 15 Soviet republics for not toppling Stalin, or at least Brezhnev. They did topple the Soviet power, but only after Gorbachev had effectively done it for them - only once toppling had become a safe move for the topplers. The national democratic rebirth of the Baltic and Eastern European countries only became possible after Gorbachev had loosened the political and ideological noose around their necks. And if anyone rose up under Soviet power, resistance was suppressed with the same hysterical harshness as is being used now in Putin's Russia. Unfortunately, at this stage the comparison is no longer an exaggeration.”