Putin’s Replacement May Actually Make Things Worse

(RepublicanInformer.com)- Amid speculation surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin’ health, questions over who his successor will be and what that would mean for Ukraine and the West are beginning to rise. One author speculates a few scenarios for the future of Russia and its Western relationship.

“It would be absurd to suggest that we can predict who Putin’s successor might be, but we can imagine what range of politics his potential successors might pursue and try to determine who—a radical Russian imperialist, a Putin clone, or a quasi-democrat—would be more or less likely to make things better or worse for Russia and its relations with Ukraine and the West,” Motyl writes in the online publication 1945.

Ideally, Motyl argues, a quasi-democratic leader would be most beneficial for everyone concerned, both Ukraine and other Western allies, as this would roll back Putin’ “fascist innovations,” including ending the war in Ukraine, fortifying deeper ties within the damaged relationship the motherland shares with the West, and reintegrating Russia into the global economy—presumably after all those sanctions are lifted and the yachts being maintained by U.S. taxpayer dollars are returned to their Russian oligarchs.

The issue with this type of leader, however, is that it’s almost sure to cause a counter-revolutionary backlash if not solely for the reason that in order for the Russian government to win the good graces of the West they would almost have to capitulate to their demands, effectively undoing the regime of Putin and causing destabilization and chaos.

But even if the successor were to be a “clone” of Putin, a two-fold problem rears its ugly head for the country. Regardless of the leader that takes Putin’s place, he will not enjoy the same popularity that Putin has been able to foster, and because he will not have the popularity, he will not have the legitimacy to maintain a stable country. Therefore, the policies of Putin will struggle to continue.

While this might seem beneficial to a Ukraine, who continues to beg the West for money, a weak leader suffering from illegitimacy “may open the door to instability, power struggles, chaos, and civil strife, at which point either the clone will stabilize his rule, or he will be replaced by a quasi-democrat or a radical Russian imperialist.”