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Putin is more dangerous than ever

16 2 0

WASHINGTON – With a surprise announcement in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin this past week laid down the path allowing him to wield power well past his nominal term limit of 2024. This led quickly to the resignations of the long-suffering prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev, and the entire Cabinet. Now an advisory board will suggest changes to the constitution that will almost certainly weaken whomever follows Putin as president and strengthen the office of prime minister.

It doesn’t take a Machiavelli to see what’s going on politically: easing into the power-enhanced role of prime minister when his presidential term expires is but one way Putin could now extend his reign. It will be the culmination of what people who plan strategically against Russia have predicted for years: Putin will be the czar of all the Russians for another decade and more. Only health appears likely to change the course upon which he now sails.

The questions for the United States and its global allies are clear: What does this mean for Russian grand strategy? How can they construct a modus vivendi with Putin and Russia?

Much like President Xi Jinping in China, Putin will now be able to shape events and planning indefinitely. This will mean many of his personal priorities will continue to drive Russian policy.

One has been his penchant for putting very serious pressure on weak neighbors, trying to recreate the group of buffer states (what Russians call the “near abroad”) that........

© The Japan Times