The head of RT, the Russian state news agency, one of the personalities of the Russian propaganda Margarita Simonyan posted that in her impression Putin will not be the next president. Simonyan says he will choose his successor, announce about him or her, recommend voting for him or her, and people will elect. This is what Simonyan thinks.
Peskov, the spokesperson for the Kremlin, answers the questions about Putin’s successor that they are intensively working towards governance and there is a lot of time before the end of the presidential term.
There seems to be a lot of time indeed. The next term is 2024 if, certainly, Putin decides that he leaves earlier. At the same time, considering the problems inside and around Russia, the complex challenges and lack of resources for meeting them, it is obvious that time will fly for the Russian president, and 2024 may start earlier in the direct or indirect sense of the word.
Putin’s intensive work apparently supposes work towards seeking solutions for 2024. For example, he has been involved in intensive discussions with the president of Belarus Lukashenko for months who is also facing the conduct of presidential elections. Recently Putin and Lukashenko have discussed integration-related issues in Sochi for several hours. Experts think that integration is considered as one of the scenarios for the solution of Putin’s 2024 issue when he may be nominated from scratch, for the new unified state.
At the same time, Lukashenko states that the sovereignty of Belarus is out of discussion. Interestingly, during his meeting with Putin in Sochi a few hundreds of people went on protest in Minsk for the sovereignty of Belarus, and the police was soft and loyal to them.
A complicated choice is awaiting the Russian president because the problem is not only his eligibility for another term. The problem is complicated for Putin because he lacks “minimum critical level” of legitimacy for his nomination. And his legitimacy is declining. In such a situation nomination is half the job because the problem is to assume full responsibility for the situation in Russia once again.
Margarita Simonyan would hardly make a post only based on her impressions, without the approval of the command of the propaganda. It is possible that Simonyan was chosen for feeling the pulse of the public or maybe also the so-called elite which must start thinking about successors and race for pleasing Putin.