. Moreover, while Putin could easily get his way with his pocket Duma, he may find the referendum of April 22 harder going: His popularity rating is “below 50 percent,” and many regions are upset with his power vertical “which in fact has destroyed federalism and transformed Russian oblasts and republics into political and economic colonies of Moscow.”
Shtepa points out that “authoritarian dictatorships typically view themselves as ‘eternal,’ but their ends often happen unexpectedly and rapidly. Perhaps,” he says, “in Russia everything will change even before 2024, the date from which Putin will begin to count his new presidential terms.”
And he concludes with what he says is “an interesting detail: Kremlin propaganda loves to call other, primarily post-Soviet lands failed states, pointing to their political instability. But in this case, Russia has demonstrated that it is a classical ‘failed state.’” And that too has consequences for the future.
(On the issue of Russia as a failed state, see two articles by the author of these lines: “Russia as a Failed State,” Baltic Defense Review, 12:2 (2004): 76-83 at bdcol.ee/files/docs/bdreview/bdr-2004-12-sec3-art3.pdfand a development of this idea at “Russia isn’t a Failed State: It Doesn’t Have a State at All,” Eurasia Review, February 23, 2019 at eurasiareview.com/23022019-russia-isnt-a-failed-state-it-doesnt-have-a-state-at-all-oped/.)