After Moments 2020, Russia’s Putin enters the New Year as powerful

MOSCOW – During 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin took possible steps for next year to cement his power at home and boldly extend nearly two decades, while the Kremlin leader will expel the remaining domestic opposition and strengthen Russia’s influence. Abroad.

The controversial constitutional amendment passed in the summer allows Mr Putin to remain in power until a possible 2036. Earlier this month, the Russian president signed into law a law boosting immunity for former presidents from legal proceedings and allowed former Kremlin leaders to become senators for life in Russia’s parliament. Once they resign.

Mr Putin visited a polling station at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow on July 1 to cast his vote in the 120 July 2020 referendum on the Russian constitution.


Alexei Druzhinin / Toss / Zuma Press

He supported big restrictions on the internet and made it difficult to protest politically. On Friday, Russian lawmakers approved a bill endorsing the Kremlin’s appointment of individuals and groups running political activity and receiving money from abroad as “foreign agents, subject to further sanctions.”

Even as Mr Putin continues to speculate among Russians about his plans to end his current term in 2024, these steps show that the Kremlin is preparing to defend itself against threats to its power.

“Next year, Putin will enter as a brutal, not philanthropic, independent democracy,” said Andrei Kolesnikov, a Russian domestic policy expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “And the more challenges to its rule, the tougher and more ‘sovereign’ it is. There are no signs of even symbolic liberalization.”

In July, people in Khabarovsk staged a rally in support of Sergei Fergal, the governor of the right-wing region, putting up a poster on the right, saying “Putin has lost my faith.”


Igor Volkov / Associated Press

The July adoption of a change in the nation’s 1990s constitution is an important moment for the Russian leader. It reflects the Kremlin’s belief that Mr Putin is gaining popular support for the expansion of his power, despite the vote showing an erosion of enthusiasm for his leadership, said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of independent political analyst Perry, R.Politic.

“He has finally been able to make his dream of a real Putin regime come true with his constitution and system,” he said.

Mr. Putin went to the shores of his power this year, though dissent also subsided. Massive protests over the arrest of a prominent regional governor in the far eastern city of Khabarovsk in July, declining public services in the country, including coronavirus-plagued health care, quickly escalated into an expression of growing dissatisfaction, and Mr. Putin’s rule.

On Saturday, 29,258 new coronavirus cases were reported in Russia, with the total infection nationwide reaching just over three million, according to Russian government figures – the fourth largest case in the world after the US, India and Brazil.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attended a video hearing by the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels on November 27.


Oliver Haslet / Shutterstock c

Mr Putin waited for the protesters, and then the crowd was devastated. But the anger reflects a split between the Kremlin and the average Russian.

“The gap between the Kremlin and society is widening,” Mr Kolesnikov said.

Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has called for an investigation into allegations of government corruption and more, to help organize anti-Kremlin voting strategies in regional elections.

But in August, after Mr Navalny fell ill, it turned out to be in contact with European doctors’ nerve agent Novich Ok, who could only be found by state actors, analysts and intelligence officials said.

Mr Navalny and his supporters believe the Kremlin is masterminding the failed plot to assassinate him. Moscow has denied any involvement. Mr Putin said earlier this month that if Russian intelligence agents had wanted to kill Mr Navalny, we would have done it.

In response, the European Union imposed sanctions on members of Mr Putin’s inner circle. Russia kind of responded.

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, and Mr. Putin during their meeting at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia on September 14.


Kremlin / EPA / Shutterstock c

“What I see is that the regime has lost the ability to compromise, to tolerate any critics, and to face any political threats peacefully,” Ms. Stanovaya said. “He knows how to behave and use repression.”

Next year, the Kremlin could make more cows to Russia’s so-called systemic protests, or opposition groups and political parties tolerated by the government. Meanwhile, opposition groups such as Sri Sri Navalny Lead will be suppressed – or possibly. Will be destroyed, analysts say.

The Kremlin has denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Russia’s intelligence have been made more than once. State News Agency, Ta.A.S.S. In a March interview, Mr Putin said opposition voices were needed.

The Russian leader said that a country that disagrees with the authorities in power has always been and always will be a certain part of society. “And it’s very good that such people exist.”

In the global arena this year, Mr. Putin extended the political lifestyle to the influential president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, who in August. He faced opposition with a demand to step down after blaming the 9th presidential vote. The Russian leader is committed to military and financial assistance to his Belarusian counterpart.

Mr Putin also broke the peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in November. The agreement reduces the Kremlin’s position as a regional power broker and guarantees its benefits in both countries. Russia already has a military base in Armenia, with which it also shares economic ties, but the peace deal is the first time Russia has deployed troops in Azerbaijan.

Russian troops outside the town of Stepnecart in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on 29 November.


Karen Minasson / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Most former Soviet states are “our allies,” Mr Putin told his National Security Council in August. “Our interests are similar in many ways, economically and politically. Undoubtedly, this is one of the priorities of our foreign policy. ”

In an interview, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this year’s crisis, as well as Western sanctions and a “continuing unethical atmosphere”, required decisive action by Moscow.

He said the crisis demanded toughness, speed of decision-making from the president. “Overall, we are sure that the main task was to maintain stability in all its directions [and] This was saved. ”

Russia has made deals to sell its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries, with analysts saying Moscow could provide soft power to acquire nations, especially in South America and the Middle East.

A shipment of 300,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine arrived in Buenos Aires from Russia on Thursday.


Esteban Colezo / Agency France-Press / Getty Images

Next year, Mr Putin could seek compensation with his help, analysts said. It is likely to demand that Mr Lukashenko support the Kremlin’s long-running efforts to draw its younger neighbor into its orbit more strictly. The Armenian and Azeri governments will be more inclined towards Russia, as they rely on Mr Putin to resume fighting in the South Caucasus.

Tensions with the West are likely to continue this year, especially with the advent of the Biden administration. U.S. This month’s revelations by a suspected Russian cyberattack on the federal government violated at least six cabinet-level divisions and further denied relations between Moscow and Washington.

But opposition to the West could work for the benefit of Mr Putin’s home, according to his supporters.

“If Putin had been bad for Russia, he would not have been attacked,” said Sergei Markov, a pro-Kremlin director at the Institute for Political Studies in Moscow. “The more the enemy gets angry, the more we move towards a brighter future. Nothing special here for Putin. [It is] The natural process of attacks against a successful Russian president. “

Live broadcast of the annual closing news conference by Mr. Putin on a screen installed on the facade of a hotel in Moscow on December 17.


Anton Novoderazkin / Toss / Zuma Press

Write to N. M. Simmons at [email protected]

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