ASSESSMENTS

In Russia, What Would Need to Happen to Seriously Threaten Putin’s Power?

MIN READDec 6, 2022 | 21:02 GMT

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022.

(WANG ZHAO/AFP via Getty Images)

Barring major setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hold on power will likely remain secure. But the high price and questionable strategic benefit of his ongoing war create several avenues by which threats to the Kremlin will likely grow -- especially ahead of the 2024 presidential election. In the weeks following the start of Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine (and in particular following Russian forces’ retreat from Kyiv and northern Ukraine), speculation swirled in Western media that Putin could be in political danger. The speculation included, for example, that a coup could depose the Russian president following the failure of Moscow’s “special military operation” to accomplish its original goal of regime change in Kyiv. Such speculation again appeared in the aftermath of Russia’s latest retreats in Ukraine, including its recent withdrawal from the major southern city of Kherson. The loss of Kherson has left the Kremlin...

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