“After the press conference,” Markov says, “the president met with Medvedev and publicly in front of the cameras expressed his dissatisfaction. Soon after that the leader of Rosstat was replaced. All this means the recognition of Vladimir Putin that he is being misinformed about the state of affairs in the socio-economic sphere.”
“I am not certain,” the commentator continues, “that this is a purely administrative mistake and that there is no political component to it and that around the president is not forming a special disinformation cocoon, so that he will not know about the real situation in the country” and appear out of touch and make mistakes.
Over the last year, Markov points out, Putin has become less active; and “the patriotic part of civil society, which forms the majority is gradually losing its trust in the president because it doesn’t see the achievement of its hopes and demands especially regarding pension reform, enormous corruption at the regional level, and so on.”
There has also been both “the continuing formation of a corps of bureaucratic loyalists who will support any zigzags of the powers” and of protest attitudes in the population, although at present there is no one who could lead any really serious protest against the Putin regime, Markov says.
He suggests that “the election of 2019 will have an existential character. If several additional mistakes are made, Putin’s rating will fall still lower; and after this will begin ‘a perfect storm,’ one in which the West will begin an attack on all fronts with the goal of overthrowing” the Kremlin leader.