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Last fall, Russian President Vladimir Putin suddenly began to reveal far-reaching plans for a future that could include the extension of his time in the Kremlin until 2036.

Just as abruptly this spring, the coronavirus forced the postponement of a nationwide vote on those blueprints — and the elaborate May 9 Victory Day celebrations that could have burnished his image.

The pandemic has also compounded economic problems that have hurt Putin’s standing with his fellow Russians and cast a shadow on efforts to choreograph the coming years.

Together with the German Marshall Fund and its Frontlines of Democracy Initiative, RFE/RL experts spoke about the amplified challenges now facing Putin and the Kremlin and the potential consequences for Russia’s future.

The talk featured Steve Gutterman, the editor of RFE/RL’s Russia Desk and the author of The Week In Russia newsletter, as well as Irina Lagunina, the director of special projects for RFE/RL’s Russian Service, and Kiryl Sukhotski, the executive editor for news at Current Time, the Russian-language network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with Voice of America.

The discussion was moderated by Jonathan Katz, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund who directs the Frontlines of Democracy Initiative.

(The discussion begins at 3:55)


[1] The German Marshall Fund of the United States | Strengthening Transatlantic Cooperation ➤[2] Jonathan D. Katz | Strengthening Transatlantic Cooperation ➤