Thursday, August 12, 2021

Putin Breathing New Life into State Council, Commentators Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 6 – After the approval of the constitutional amendments last year which gave the State Council constitutional status, many expected it to play a major role in the restructuring of the institutions of state power under the reign of Vladimir Putin. But in the months since, little has been heard about it.

            Now, there is evidence that is changing; and URA journalist Sergey Dianov argues that “Putin is returning to life a structure in which the entire elite of the country will be included.” That such a drive is now underway is suggested by Vladimir Putin’s behavior during his recent visit to the southern Urals (

            Dainov consulted with four expert observers on this point. Dmitry Zhuravlyev, director of the Institute of Regional Problems, says that Putin’s meetings in the southern Urals were a departure from his recent practice. He has been meeting only online and only with governors up for reelection. But the two he met in this region aren’t up for a vote until 2024.

            That suggests that Putin’s visit was about something broader than just the election and that points to the increased importance of the State Council which is slated to meet soon, Zhuravlyev, a former staffer in the Presidential Administration says.

            Marat Bashirov, who writes the PolitJoystick telegram channel, agrees. Both governors involved are among the 97 senior officials who will convene later this year as the Russian State Council. By meeting with them, Putin is signaling that this meeting and more generally this institution are going to play a major role in the future.

            Konstantin Kalachev, head of the Political Experts Group, says the State Council session may even take up the issue of a new political agenda for the regime and that Putin is preparing for that by consulting with governors.  That agenda may include a shift from reliance on exports of raw materials to re-industrialization.

            And Sergey Polyakov, head of the Center for Electoral Practices, says that such predictions are entirely consistent with Putin’s visit to the southern Urals, a center of industrial development and one on which the center could launch such a program. 

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