Wikistrat 2016 Prediction: Putin forced to choose between Oligarchs and Public

WIKISTRAT PREDICTIONS FOR 2016 (RUSSIA)

As part of Wikistrat’s Predictions for 2016 report, I contributed a potentially upbeat one, reproduced here with permission, that speculated about the way the likely opening pressures between the interests of the public and the kleptocratic oligarchs of Russia (or maybe the “three Russias” I write about here) may force Putin to choose between them. It is possible — and this may be wishful thinking — that he would choose some form of economic reform and limited anti-corruption campaign. Of course, he could just as easily decide to go full late-Brezhnev and cushion the elite regardless of the impact on the public and state legitimacy, in which case he is truly dooming his state-building project.

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