From Zygmunt Dzieciolowski on openDemocracy:
This speculation notwithstanding, it was clear from the beginning that the solution to the Russian presidential puzzle would have to meet some basic conditions. The huge concentration of powers in the Kremlin’s top job meant that it could not be allowed to fall into the hands of a dangerous reformer: somebody who might inaugurate changes that led to a redistribution of power and wealth between oligarchic clans and structures. The late-18th-century precedent involving the Emperor Paul’s efforts to depart from the legacy of his mother Catherine II was a warning to be avoided. Even worse, the merest prospect that a successor to Putin might initiate some kind of democratic thaw that could pave the way for the early release from prison of the ex-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was enough to cause Kremlin bureaucrats sleepless nights.