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POLAND: Russian Presidential Elections
On Sunday, Russians voted in a presidential elections. It did not come as a surprise that Vladimir Putin returned victorious, with partial results suggesting he gained slightly above 75%. Vladimir Putin will be Russia’s president for the next 6-year term. According to the current constitution, this term is supposed to be his last. In many areas, since the fall of communism, Russia underwent enormous change, both socially and economically. In political terms, however, Russia did not undergo the changes many former communist states did. Putin’s popular success is largely a derivative of this.
Putin’s next term will be dependent on the past. He is likely to upkeep his ant-Western rhetoric in a bid to preserve his popularity – this means that a pivot in terms of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine seems unlikely. Relations with Poland, are also likely to remain frosty. However, we can expect more action in Russian internal politics. With Putin’s (officially) last term as President it can be anticipated that a power struggle will commence. This will involve both Putin’s closest confidants and the opposition, which will try to make the most of the upcoming power vacuum. Still, it cannot be discarded that Putin will attempt to work around the constitution or change it, once more. A worst case scenario could involve some sort of artificially ignited internal unrest – “forcing” Putin to remain in power.