He’s nearly 70. Let’s assume he wants Russia to expand, gobble up Ukraine, and other former parts of the USSR before he dies. Does he expect this mega-state to hold together indefinitely? Does he not care if it does? Does he foresee a mega-Russia continuing to maintain Ukraine as a vassal state? Does he have some sort of “worthy” succession plan?
What’s his long-term thinking, decades, even centuries, rather than years or months?
The problem for a dictator in setting up any sort of “succession plan” is that you immediately create a competing power center around your putative successor. That’s why, in those cases where they do name a successor, they often go with their offspring, whom presumably have at least a little personal loyalty toward the dictator.
Is it possible that he’s thinking not in terms of a good successor, but a bad one?
Imagine that, as you say, he wants Russia to expand, gobble up Ukraine, and other former parts of the USSR before he dies — but that he doesn’t expect this mega-state to hold together indefinitely. Imagine for a moment that he expects it to last until after he dies, at which point it fails on his successor’s watch.
Is it possible that people then say, gosh, if his successor had been as smart and ruthless as Putin, it could’ve, would’ve, kept holding together; but his successor, well, that guy was no Putin, was he? Didn’t have the grand shrewdness of The Great Man, did he?
I don’t know why you think this should be such a priority for Putin, or that failing to plan for his succession makes him “clinically insane.” How many average Americans have done zip in terms of planning for their inevitable demise?
However, there is a legal line of succession in Russia – legally, the Prime Minister takes over should Putin die. He recently appointed Mikhail Mishustin, a little-known tax official, to this post. Whether or not Mishustin would de facto be able to wield authority if Putin dies is up in the air.
Well, i think it’s sort of nutty to be going to all this effort, killing so many Russian soldiers, creating such a mess, at this moment without some sort of coherent plan for what he wants out of it. If your answer is “Attention,” then that’s a species of insanity, no?
The difference between Putin and an average American who hasn’t planned for his own demise very carefully (I’m one of them, btw) is that the state will swoop in and make some choices that I’ve failed to make, and the final disposition of my worldly goods is a routine problem for the state (and my family) that happens every day–it affects no one, other than my family members being inconvenienced and it’s an inconsiderate thing for me to do to them that they’ll probably get over after a few weeks of cursing me out. With Putin, you’re talking about affecting millions of Russians, starting a civil war, changing Russia’s future for generations, all of which he could have an influence on, if he wanted to. I suspect he does have clear preferences that we don’t know much about, hence this thread: what are his long-term goals?
Putin’s fantasy is to have his head up on the posters next to Lenin’s. He wants future generations to revere his name.
He doesn’t care if Russia is plunged into abject poverty and misery, so long as all those dying of hunger believe that he was the Great God Vlad, Restorer of Russia’s Glory. He needs Russians to feel nostalgia for his reign and to obsess over him.
I think Mikhail Mishustin is the next in line of succession if Putin shuffles off this mortal coil. Good luck with that, however, as, at least IIRC, he’s like a treasury official or something like that. With no actual political experience (he was simply appointed by Putin when he canned the last guy), and probably isn’t well known to most Russians.
As to what Putin thinks will happen…I’d agree with other posters, that he probably don’t really care. I think he is trying to stay on the horse as long as he can, and that’s his primary focus. Although, he does have some idea about righting all the wrongs the west has done to the Russian people as well as retaking territory he considers to be Russia’s by right, so maybe he does give it a thought. If so, he certainly hasn’t done anything substantial to plan for it, or to have the Russian government prepare for it. He probably can’t, though, to be fair…if he had a 2nd in command who was competent that might be a death sentence for him.
What will almost certainly happen is whoever is strongest, who can put together the biggest or strongest coalition in the Russian government or Russian military will almost certainly take over when Putin does shuffle off.