Staunton, October 27 – In Russia, no one can be certain of the past let alone the future, but Moscow writer Dmitry Milin today offers what he calls “10 shocking predictions” about Russia in the near future. Even if he is wrong on one or more of these -- and he almost certainly will be-- they make a useful checklist of possibilities (rosbalt.ru/posts/2017/10/27/1656435.html).
The ten, some of which appear completely fantastic but some of which seem not entirely improbable, include:
1. Putin wins re-election with 35 to 38 million votes, the smallest number in the history of Russian presidential elections because of low turnout. Kseniya Sobchak finishes second, and her support throws the existing political parties of the country into crisis.
2. During the upcoming presidential campaign, so much compromising material will be published about Putin and his entourage that he will be seriously weakened, possibly leading him to leave office before the end of his new term.
3. Aleksey Navalny won’t be allowed to but, but after the March 2018 election, he will be allowed to “register his marginal opposition party.”
4. “Medvedev will move to St. Petersburg after the elections where he will head a unified Constitutional-Supreme Court and carry out judicial reform which will most likely be more successful than not.”
5. One of Medvedev’s people will replace Poltavchenko as governor of St. Petersburg, and that city “will become ‘the liberal capital’ of Russia, a place of growth in an otherwise stagnating Russia and thus a point of attraction for investment and cadres “from throughout Northern Europe.”
6. The crisis of the existing political parties will lead to the appearance of a strong new party, “the Russian analogue to ‘the Party of the Regions,’” and its rise will push Russia in the direction of being “a real federation,” something which “to the surprise of many will strengthen the unity of the country.”
7. “Moscow will lose the status of being the only capital city: judicial power will pass to St. Petersburg, the State Duma to Nizhny Novgorod, and the Federation Council (which will be directly elected) to Kazan.”
8. The US will introduce investment sanctions on Russia which will lead to a rise in interest rates, a devaluation of the ruble, and money reforms.
9. The Russian stock mark will fall to about 500, but having reached that “’bottom’” will then began a slow by confident growth fueled by private investments by the population.
10. The pension age will rise to 65 for both men and women. Efforts to get Russians to save for retirement through state accounts will fail but instead lead to the rebirth of independent investment banks, “which in turn will lead to the growth of long-term investments in the economy of Russia.”