Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bid for lifetime rule is grounded on his expert tapping into the Russian collective consciousness, writes former ICWA fellow and current executive director Gregory Feifer (Russia, 2000-2002) in The New Republic. But Putinism will ultimately lead to the kind of crisis that prompts Westernizing reform.

“Deeply rooted social priorities, including an aversion to risk, have so far trumped the democratic hopes of the country’s few remaining opposition leaders,” he writes, “even as more Russians struggle under a stagnant economy, massive corruption, domestic repression, and international pariah status.”

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