ISSN 2330-717X

Putin’s Exit Will Be ‘Much Greater Shock’ To System Than Departure Of Any Of His Soviet Predecessors – OpEd


Vladimir Putin’s departure from rule one way or another “will be a much greater shock to the system than the departure of any Soviet leader,” Vladimir Pastukhov says, “precisely because,” given the Kremlin leader’s highly personalistic rule, “there is no mechanism for the collective leadership of the country now, even in a bastardized form.”


As a result, the London-based Russian analyst says, the selection of someone to succeed him will take place not within a collective leadership committed to keeping things within the family as it were but by means of the intervention of those prepared to use force and violence to get their way (

Both in 1953-1956 and again in 1982-1985, the CPSU leaders were able to come together as a collective leadership and to block those who might have used force to challenge either one potential leader or the entire system. After Putin goes, there is little likelihood that anything similar will emerge, Pastukhov says.

In the absence of any established system for choosing a new leader, Russia almost certainly will revert at least for a time for what was the case during almost two centuries of Romanov rule: the intervention of force structures, in that case, guards regiments, to decide who would come out on top.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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