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Putin Does Not Have Perpetual Power

For as often as she references Russian history in her hasty new article, “The Once and Future President,” Professor Irina Filatova seems wont to forget its lessons. According to her logic, because Putin has “has done everything to strengthen his personal power and to organise institutions to serve it, not the other way round,” that he has created an unprecedented, pattern-shattering brand of personal power that will follow him everywhere, from the presidency to the premiership – and even beyond. It can be fun to write these kinds of exaggerated, scary articles about Russian politics, but the arguments are wearing thin. Chock full of commonly held myths (Medvedev is only a figurehead, Putin “tamed” private business, and there’s nothing unusual about the rise of the siloviki), Filatova’s piece overlooks the fact that Putin, like all other mortal politicians, is still bound to the immutable laws of political physics in Russia – what goes up, must come down.