Russia’s fifth term under Putin is probably going to be more of the same

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A Putin landslide was the obvious prediction, as far as they went. There’s no need for a crystal ball or tea leaves.

After all, the political system in Russia is strictly regulated by the Kremlin. Elections included. But with his 87%, what will Vladimir Putin do? What can we expect from a fifth term for Putin?

Putin 5.0 and Putin 4.0 might not be all that dissimilar.

An “Abracadabra moment” in which the hawk transforms into a dove with a sweep of a magic wand is not what you should expect.

Presumably, President Putin will carry on with his present course of hostilities overseas and repression within.

With Putin continuing to turn Russia into a more militarized nation, the future of this conflict is likely to include both the war in Ukraine and the conflict with the West, in addition to an ideological battle on the home front.

The Russian civil society is already facing tremendous pressure. That might get more intense. That 87% is a staggering percentage.

True, it won’t persuade decision-makers in the West that this is an accurate depiction of Putin’s popularity right now.

Regarding Russia’s presidential election, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said, “This is not what free and fair elections look like.”However, it allows the Kremlin to claim that Vladimir Putin has the full support of the Russian people and that the entire country has come together behind him.

Importantly, he can now assert that the Russian people support both the course he is taking in Russia and his conflict in Ukraine.

The political class in Russia is also sent a clear message by the 87%: “Take note, there’s still only one man in charge here, in control – and that’s not going to change any time soon.”

And less than a year after the short-lived but dramatic Wagner mercenary group rebellion, that matters to Vladimir Putin. Yevgeny Prigozhin’s insurrection had directly challenged Putin’s power.

Ultimately, the head of the Kremlin emerged victorious. After the mutiny, Prigozhin died in a plane crash two months later.

He attacked Western democracy and forecast that Russia would get stronger after the election.

Opponents point out that a leader’s political confidence can be risky, particularly if it is excessive. Especially when a nation’s political structure lacks checks and balances.

In modern Russia, there aren’t many of those.