Friday, September 23, 2016

Will Russia Soon Cease to Have a President?

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 23 – Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the outrageous but often leading indicator of Kremlin plans, sang the Russian Imperial anthem “God Save the Tsar” after Vladimir Putin invested him in the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland,” an action that intensified rumors that some in the elite would like to see the current Russian president become a tsar (

            For the last quarter of a century, the LDPR leader has demonstrated a good nose for where the senior leadership of the country is headed, although it must be said that sometimes he anticipates things that happen only much later and often expresses himself in ways that the Kremlin finds difficult to take even if it agrees with him.

            That makes Zhirinovsky’s latest escape worthy of note, but even more significant may be a Russian blogger’s comment about what he says are Putin’s plans for a “global” transformation of the Russian political landscape that will leave Russia without a president but have Putin become head of a State Council.

            The blog post has been picked up by the media in Kazan, capital of a republic that is still fighting to maintain the office of president, and published this week with a cautionary note that it is impossible to determine how reliable the Russian blogger’s post is or even if he is the insider that he claims to be (

                But “if the author [Artem Dragunov] is right,” the Tatarstan newspaper says, “in the near future, we will have in fact a new state, one like the Soviet Union and something in between a presidential and a parliamentary republic, with a Gosplan, a KGB, and an official opposition” but without a president.

            Here are Dragunov’s key predictions:

·         The FSB will be reorganized and expanded into something like the KGB.

·         The Kremlin will then create a State Council, led by a chairman or a head but not a president. The State Council will have a deputy head. Initially, that may be Dmitry Medvedev; but Putin, the head, wants to put a woman in this position.

·         The Kremlin wants to reorganize and simplify Russia’s party system, with United Russia permanently ensured of “not less than 51 percent,” but with a renamed Democratic Party of Russia, the Liberal being dropped, with 15 percent, the Communist Party a maximum of 15 percent, the SRs about 10 percent, and a unified party of the opposition about ten percent.

·         In time, the party system will be further simplified into three major parties: right, centrist and left.

·         A Gosplan will be reestablished to control major planning exercises and will launch the first post-Soviet five-year plan by 2021.

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