Putin Regime Likely to End by Only One of Five Scenarios Now On Offer, Eidman Says
June 1 – Many analysts in Russia and the West are now openly talking about how
the regime of Vladimir Putin could come to an end, making predictions that in
many cases appear to be more an expression of their preferences than of the actual
prospects of any one of them coming true.
first prediction about the end of the Putin era is what he calls “the ‘bunker’
scenario” in which Putin is destroyed as Hitler was by “complete international
isolation.” However, the West doesn’t seem prepared for such an “uncompromising”
stand, and even Putin isn’t “inadequate” enough to launch a suicidal global
second set of predictions involves Putin being pushed aside or even killed by a
palace coup, much as Paul I was, Eidman says. But that is unlikely: the Kremlin
leader has had the time to select only those most loyal to his person to be in
top jobs, and he has made sure that all the members of the elite know that
their positions would be at risk if he were overthrown.
third is perhaps the most hopeful and most unrealistic, involving as it does
the notion that Putin and his siloviki will launch a new perestroika and bring
reforms.He and they hate that idea more
than anything else and they know that their system, like the Soviet one, would “inevitably
collapse” if it reformed to the point of not relying on violence.
fourth prediction, popular now among some Russian political emigres, is that
Putin will ultimately “be forced” to take part in a roundtable with the opposition
much as Marshal Jaruzelski was in Poland. But who in the Putin regime would sit
down as an equal with Navalny or fail to remember that Jaruzelski was simply a
half-way house to regime collapse.
the fifth prediction, the only one that has much chance, Eidman suggests, is a
popular explosion on the lines of February 1917.There is growing social discontent and anger
about both rising income inequality and the increasingly hereditary nature of
power and property in Putin’s Russia.
some point “as was the case in 1917,” popular discontent will break out and
some in the elite will decide that they can’t suppress the demonstrators and
that their best chance for survival is to join them.When and how this might happen is far from
clear, but the chances that it could are at least in evidence.
this has one positive consequence, Eidman says.“Under certain circumstances,” a popular revolution in Russia could but
not necessarily would set “the country on the European democratic path.”Whether that would be subverted as the
February 1917 revolution was, of course, remains to be seen.