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Thursday, May 10, 2012
Putin's Challenge ~ To Adapt to Russia's Rising Middle Class ~ Or to Force THEM to adapt to Putin
Russia's newly inaugurated President Vladimir Putin, left, and new Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev watch the Victory Day parade in Red Square in Moscow on May 9, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Large demonstrations were held Sunday in Moscow and other Russian cities, protesting the return of Vladimir Putin as president. Putin remains by far Russia’s most important and powerful political figure, but his popularity has dropped sharply and he now confronts formidable domestic opposition in the form of a newly vocal middle class. Which side will win this tug of war? LIGNET takes a closer look.
As much as tensions are growing within Russia between the old (Putin) and the new (the middle class), LIGNET sees stability in its future as far as the visible horizon. A cunning and ruthless leader, Putin can be counted on to do what is necessary to stay in power, both by acting with decisive strength when he needs to and by implementing face-saving reforms to vent popular discontent against him at critical moments. The middle class is growing in strength, but they are not united and lack leadership—conditions which Putin will do his best to keep in place.