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Old 01-15-2020, 01:15 PM
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Russian Government Resigns


BBC story here.

I will not pretend to know anything about the way the Russian government works (in theory or in practice), but based on the past I have to assume that this is part of a plan for Vladimir Putin to retain power past 2024. So, how does this work? Any idea? Does his proposal to devolve power from the Presidency indicate that he'll just do what he did last time and get himself elected/appointed/designated to whatever office really holds the power?

I've got other questions about what a post-Putin Russia looks like, but I don't know if this is the place.

What's going on here?
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:32 PM
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That’s what I’ve been wondering. The article I read says this is so Putin can reduce the power of his successor, but wouldn’t he just want to keep things the way they are? What successor? Isn’t he just going to keep himself in place until he dies?
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:14 PM
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Linked article states that one of the new measures being implemented is removal of a rule that prohibits a president from serving more than two consecutive terms. Fortunate given that Putin's second consecutive term ends in 2024.
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:47 PM
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Hearing more reporting on the subject, it seems clear that it is a move orchestrated to give Putin even more power.
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:50 PM
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That’s what I figured, but I don’t get why all this is necessary. I guess he wants to make it seem legit.
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:04 PM
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There's some weird term limit stuff going on that causes Putin to switch from being President to Prime Minister and back from time to time.

9 August 1999 – 7 May 2000 – Prime Minister
7 May 2000 – 7 May 2008 – President
7 May 2008 – 7 May 2012 – Prime Minister
7 May 2012 - Present – President

Looks like his time as President is coming to an end so he is making Prime Minister the more powerful office. I feel like I remember him doing the same thing in the other direction in 2012.
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:14 PM
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Tandemocracy

'Commentators, analysts and some politicians concurred in 2008 and early 2009 that the transfer of presidential powers that took place on May 7, 2008, was in name only and Putin continued to retain the number one position in Russia's effective power hierarchy, with Dmitry Medvedev being a figurehead or "Russia’s notional president".'
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:41 PM
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That’s what I figured, but I don’t get why all this is necessary. I guess he wants to make it seem legit.
That's what has me confused. Why is Putin going through all these motions? He should just have the Russian Constitution rewritten so it allows the President to run for unlimited consecutive terms. That would actually be less blatant than these maneuvers he pulls every time his term in office nears an end.

But perhaps that's the point. Putin may want to periodically demonstrate how much he's in control of the Russian political and legal system.
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:03 PM
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Hearing more reporting on the subject, it seems clear that it is a move orchestrated to give Putin even more power.
Yea, that is what everyone says, and I assume is correct. However, no one seems to be able to lay out an "explain like I am 10 years old" diagram of how this will do that.
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:32 PM
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Honestly, why doesn't he just declare himself the new Tsar and get it over with?
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:33 PM
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NOTE: This post contains some pure random speculation and Wild-Ass-Guessing on my part.

According to the report, Putin seems to be moving to increase the power of the Prime Minister-ship at the expense of the Presidency, which would be totally in keeping with his previous use of "Tandemocracy" (as already noted and linked to by Lance Turbo). So that's in keeping with his previous actions and makes sense.

The odd part is the suggestion that he's also contemplating eliminating term limits for the Presidency. If he's planning to eliminate term limits for that office so he can just keep on being President, why would he be reducing the power of the office? (Unless maybe he genuinely believes that reducing the power of any one man is what would be best for Russia, and wants to be a Russian Cincinnatus and...HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Sorry, I just wanted to inject a little levity into an otherwise serious post.)

What occurred to me (this is the WAG part) is that maybe Putin is in fact planning to complete hollow out the power of the Russian Presidency, making the office something like that of the President of Ireland, with all substantive powers now held by the Prime Minister--who would once again be Vladimir Putin--who would govern as long as he held the support of his party in the Duma (Putin's "party" is United Russia, and as best as I can tell, it's "ideology" and "platform" are "Whatever Putin says!"). So--maybe--the reason for eliminating term limits for the Presidency is just so Putin won't have to bother with periodically finding a new stooge ceremonial figurehead who will be content with the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and doing whatever "his" Prime Minister "advises" him to do. Finding someone Putin can trust to stick with the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and not, say, try to go over the Prime Minister's head and directly appeal to the Russian people during some political crisis, could be something Putin doesn't want to have to periodically do all over again. And after all, if "President of Russia" becomes a purely ceremonial post, well, who cares about term limits? Elizabeth II has been Queen for over 65 years now, but nobody thinks she has amassed some unbreakable grip on power--she has no real power, never has, and never will even if she lives to be a 119 years old.
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:36 PM
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That was a close one, if they hadn't resigned Putin was going to have to make a whole batch of iced tea!
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MEBuckner View Post
NOTE: This post contains some pure random speculation and Wild-Ass-Guessing on my part.

According to the report, Putin seems to be moving to increase the power of the Prime Minister-ship at the expense of the Presidency, which would be totally in keeping with his previous use of "Tandemocracy" (as already noted and linked to by Lance Turbo). So that's in keeping with his previous actions and makes sense.

The odd part is the suggestion that he's also contemplating eliminating term limits for the Presidency. If he's planning to eliminate term limits for that office so he can just keep on being President, why would he be reducing the power of the office? (Unless maybe he genuinely believes that reducing the power of any one man is what would be best for Russia, and wants to be a Russian Cincinnatus and...HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Sorry, I just wanted to inject a little levity into an otherwise serious post.)

What occurred to me (this is the WAG part) is that maybe Putin is in fact planning to complete hollow out the power of the Russian Presidency, making the office something like that of the President of Ireland, with all substantive powers now held by the Prime Minister--who would once again be Vladimir Putin--who would govern as long as he held the support of his party in the Duma (Putin's "party" is United Russia, and as best as I can tell, it's "ideology" and "platform" are "Whatever Putin says!"). So--maybe--the reason for eliminating term limits for the Presidency is just so Putin won't have to bother with periodically finding a new stooge ceremonial figurehead who will be content with the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and doing whatever "his" Prime Minister "advises" him to do. Finding someone Putin can trust to stick with the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and not, say, try to go over the Prime Minister's head and directly appeal to the Russian people during some political crisis, could be something Putin doesn't want to have to periodically do all over again. And after all, if "President of Russia" becomes a purely ceremonial post, well, who cares about term limits? Elizabeth II has been Queen for over 65 years now, but nobody thinks she has amassed some unbreakable grip on power--she has no real power, never has, and never will even if she lives to be a 119 years old.
Sounds plausible to me. Of course, I've already admitted I know next to nothing about the Russian system of government, so what do I know?
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:54 PM
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Gorbachev is still alive which amazes me. One of the most important figures of the latter part of the 20th century is still around twenty years into the 21st century yet in relative obscurity.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:06 PM
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Honestly, why doesn't he just declare himself the new Tsar and get it over with?
Because as someone becomes more powerful they simultaneously become more vulnerable.

If Russia operates as an authoritarian government in control of a society that has more or less accepted that life in Russia is shit but 'Hey this is Russia and we've got a long authoritarian tradition and a tradition of large scale kleptocracy - whaddya gonna do?'...well, that's one thing. People know Putin's the kingpin, but they figure that the whole system is rotten and what's the difference between Putin and someone else, they figure.

But if someone like Putin consolidates power, then they become more of a target (Maduro is a case in point). In authoritarian societies like Russia, there's almost always some degree of tension at the top of the government and tension from underneath. People like Putin survive by making sure he has alignment at the top. If he doesn't, if there's a break at the political level, the risk is that protest movements and would-be revolutionaries view that as weakness and take to the streets.

I'm sensing that some people with power in Russia aren't exactly on the same page with Putin - or that if they are, Putin fears that they might not be for much longer. Putin has to stay in power to survive. He's committed too many financial crimes, too many murders, made too many enemies. He will do whatever it takes to survive but even Putin knows he can't just go out and slaughter people and murder all of his enemies in plain view.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:49 AM
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Because as someone becomes more powerful they simultaneously become more vulnerable.

If Russia operates as an authoritarian government in control of a society that has more or less accepted that life in Russia is shit but 'Hey this is Russia and we've got a long authoritarian tradition and a tradition of large scale kleptocracy - whaddya gonna do?'...well, that's one thing. People know Putin's the kingpin, but they figure that the whole system is rotten and what's the difference between Putin and someone else, they figure.

But if someone like Putin consolidates power, then they become more of a target (Maduro is a case in point). In authoritarian societies like Russia, there's almost always some degree of tension at the top of the government and tension from underneath. People like Putin survive by making sure he has alignment at the top. If he doesn't, if there's a break at the political level, the risk is that protest movements and would-be revolutionaries view that as weakness and take to the streets.

I'm sensing that some people with power in Russia aren't exactly on the same page with Putin - or that if they are, Putin fears that they might not be for much longer. Putin has to stay in power to survive. He's committed too many financial crimes, too many murders, made too many enemies. He will do whatever it takes to survive but even Putin knows he can't just go out and slaughter people and murder all of his enemies in plain view.
That sounds suspiciously like a distinction without a difference.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:39 AM
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Well, what would be so great about declaring himself Tsar and "get it over with"? You think he should just be more honest with us or something? You think he's wasting some valuable resource by playing this dance?


It's not like tsars didn't have lower nobility and the peasants to deal with.

Last edited by CarnalK; 01-16-2020 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:08 PM
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That's what has me confused. Why is Putin going through all these motions? He should just have the Russian Constitution rewritten so it allows the President to run for unlimited consecutive terms. That would actually be less blatant than these maneuvers he pulls every time his term in office nears an end.
As far as I can tell, he might not have sufficient political support to be able to accomplish such an act while he would have for this.
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:20 PM
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Yes, I assume his backers are ok with extending his rule but not ready to declare him dictator for life.
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:36 PM
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Worked out great for the last guy to hold that title!
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:42 PM
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Worked out great for the last guy to hold that title!
You mean the one who had his doctors executed?
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:24 PM
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Because as someone becomes more powerful they simultaneously become more vulnerable.

If Russia operates as an authoritarian government in control of a society that has more or less accepted that life in Russia is shit but 'Hey this is Russia and we've got a long authoritarian tradition and a tradition of large scale kleptocracy - whaddya gonna do?'...well, that's one thing. People know Putin's the kingpin, but they figure that the whole system is rotten and what's the difference between Putin and someone else, they figure.

But if someone like Putin consolidates power, then they become more of a target (Maduro is a case in point). In authoritarian societies like Russia, there's almost always some degree of tension at the top of the government and tension from underneath. People like Putin survive by making sure he has alignment at the top. If he doesn't, if there's a break at the political level, the risk is that protest movements and would-be revolutionaries view that as weakness and take to the streets.

I'm sensing that some people with power in Russia aren't exactly on the same page with Putin - or that if they are, Putin fears that they might not be for much longer. Putin has to stay in power to survive. He's committed too many financial crimes, too many murders, made too many enemies. He will do whatever it takes to survive but even Putin knows he can't just go out and slaughter people and murder all of his enemies in plain view.
As dictators go, Putin is actually one of the best ones (both personally and professionally) that we've seen in a long time.

He's competent, he's good at 4-dimensional chess, and he genuinely tries to look out for the best interests of his country. Russia could do a whole lot worse, and I think that most Russians know it.
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:40 PM
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Spanish has a word for it: autogolpe, 'self-coup'.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:39 PM
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As dictators go, Putin is actually one of the best ones (both personally and professionally) that we've seen in a long time.

He's competent, he's good at 4-dimensional chess, and he genuinely tries to look out for the best interests of his country. Russia could do a whole lot worse, and I think that most Russians know it.
But he has the same flaw any dictator has; when Putin has to decide between the interests of Vladimir Putin and the interests of Russia, he chooses the interests of Vladimir Putin. And a dictatorial political system means he can do that.

Any government is going to serve the interests of those who control the government. In a dictatorship, that means the government will serve the interests of the dictator.

That's why democracy is the best form of government. There's nothing inherently better about a democratic government. But the government is controlled by a majority of the population so it has to serve the interests of a majority of the people. Or it gets replaced.
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:10 AM
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Well, democracy is actually to give everyone as much of a say in things as possible. Making better decisions is a side effect.

But anyway, here is an alternative possibility: What if Putin is dying, or otherwise knows he is not going to have the health to retain power past the next election cycle? Is there a possibility he is trying to set up a government system to succeed him rather than picking a heir?
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Old 01-18-2020, 06:59 PM
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In the Good Old Days, a change of government would be serenaded by firing squads. It's much quieter now.
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