Barcelona, Spain, January 2, 2018: Super yacht, The Dilbar, owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. (M J W /
Russian Oligarchs Don’t Have the Power — or Inclination — to Stop Putin

It’s time to start thinking about how President Vladimir Putin might be replaced. If his invasion of Ukraine continues to go wrong, it’s very difficult to see how he can long survive in power.

This in turn means thinking about the nature of the Russian regime as a whole and whether it has the capacity to extricate itself from the yawning pit that Putin and his closest associates have dug for Russia.

In important respects, the Kremlin’s plan has already failed. Everything depended on taking key areas of Ukraine quickly and with minimal civilian casualties. Even more importantly, Western economic retaliation has been much stronger and more united than Putin and his staff seem to have expected.

Credible estimates suggest that the Russian economy could decline by 7 percent in the coming year; if the war goes on, Russian casualties could mount into the tens of thousands. Even if, as widely expected, the government declares a state of emergency, there’s bound to be greatly increased public discontent, leading to greatly intensified state repression.

Read the full article in The Washington Post.

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