With presidential polls a year away, Russia is again in a state of pre-electoral tension. Paradoxically, Russia’s “managed” democracy tends to promote such periods of paralysis, since it still requires elections to take place with a veneer of choice, and respect for constitutional niceties such as presidential term limits. That creates uncertainties. Billionaires and bureaucrats alike prefer to put off decisions until they know exactly how the stars will align in the next constellation of power.
Today’s nervousness is worse than that four years ago because more is at stake. Then, with rising oil prices fuelling robust growth, acontinuation of course under whomever Vladimir Putin chose as his presidential successor seemed reasonable to most Russians.
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