Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Kremlin Doesn’t Want Opposition Candidates in 2024 Younger than 50 Lest Their Ages Cause Russians Reflect on Putin’s, ‘Meduza’ News Agency Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 28 – Two sources in the Russian Presidential Administration tell the Meduza news agency that the Kremlin doesn’t want the systemic opposition parties to field any candidate for president younger than 50 lest their youth makes Russian voters reflect on the increasingly elderly Vladimir Putin.

            The sources say that the Kremlin is concerned that if such candidates were to run, Russians would despite everything reflect on the fact that the 70-year-old Putin is, in their words, “already not the man who came to power with a firm hand” (meduza.io/feature/2023/08/28/v-kremle-opredelilis-kto-poydet-na-prezidentskie-vybory-2024-goda).

            Age is an issue for Russians.  According to a Russian Field poll last spring, Meduza reports, Russians said it was their third greatest concern about the Kremlin leader. Only his supposed “softness” in dealing with others and his inattention to domestic concerns mattered more to them (russianfield.com/300days).

            In the past, Kremlin operatives have been concerned about ensuring that Putin, who is very short, doesn’t appear alongside those who are much taller, but now that he has passed 70, age apparently has become an even more important criteria in their planning – and that has consequences.

            If younger candidates are kept out of the race next year, that will delay still further the generational change in the Moscow elites; and that in turn will mean that when change does come as the actuarial charts guarantee, it will be more rather than less radical and more likely to produce instability. 

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