Will Putin Make It to 2024 and What Comes Next?

September 10, 2020

On the 9th of September, Mikhail Khodorkovsky joined Former President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Alina Polyakova, President and CEO of CEPA, in the online discussion “Will Putin Make It to 2024 and What Comes Next?”, organized by CEPA, and moderated by Jill Dougherty of the The Woodrow Wilson Center.  Khodorkovsky presented his recently published book, Gardariki, where he lays out a vision for the future of the Russia.

When asked what makes him so sure that the Putin regime will end, Khodorovsky replied:

“All authoritarian regimes come to an end, because everyone commits critical errors.  (…) The result of a critical error is a change of government. Under democracy, it’s not a tragedy, but a normal course of events. Under authoritarian rule it is the end of the regime as we know it.

Why will it happen? Why does this become more and more likely? The entire world, including Russia, is developing too fast at the moment. The 30-year experience often doesn’t give you advantages that flexibility and creativity give you. There’s no point in looking at the young ministers that make up the Putin cabinet. Decisions are in fact taken and enforced by his old friends. He trusts them, he understands them and as a result the country, for the past 6 years, has been standing still economically. Highly qualified young people are leaving. His ratings are falling. Putin himself is committing more and more errors. (…) Today, things could happen overnight. [Putin] is not getting any younger, and the situation in the country has ceased to be stable as a result of that.

After this [change] happens, it is very important that we have public consensus on all the key issues of future reforms. When I talk about fundamental consensus, in my understanding, this means that not one group in the country will be able to defend an alternative point of view with extreme methods. And that outlook to important alternatives and decisions is something that I talk about in the new book, “Gardariki”.”