His Leadership on Edge, Putin Tries a Comeback

His Leadership on Edge, Putin Tries a Comeback

Winter hit Moscow furiously in the last days of November causing colossal traffic jams, but the political climate remains hot as if the electoral season and the government reshuffle did not end in May. President Vladimir Putin announced plans for several trips and scheduled the annual president’s address to the Federal Assembly for mid-December, seeking to catch up on the time he lost walled up in his residence outside Moscow for the past several weeks. Putin indeed needs to block the mutually reinforcing dynamics of spreading discontent and escalating squabbles among the elite clans, but he is set to discover that it is not his health condition that has caused the unseasonal turbulence in Russia’s envisaged “stabilization.” More Russians now think that the country is moving in the wrong direction than believe that it is on the right track (the proportion is 44 percent against 40 percent). And a firmer hand on the steering wheel may only aggravate this blunder (Levada.ru, November 28).

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