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Feb 27

Russian Presidential Transition: From Putin ... to Putin

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Russia's presidential election, set for March 2, already has a frontrunner - and winner.  Dmitry Medvedev may be President Vladimir Putin's chosen successor for the country's highest office, but few people believe he will be in charge.  Many think that the actual leader of Russia after the election will still be Putin, not Medvedev, a civilian bureaucrat, who lacks the corporate backing of the siloviki - the Russian secret services, law enforcement, and their veterans, the real power base of his mentor.  The support of the leadership of Russia's intelligence and security services, the military, and the military-industrial complex is essential for the current Russian political system of "managed" democracy to remain in place.  

Medvedev's anticipated victory will represent a continuation of "politics as usual" in Putin's Russia.  He will preside over an illiberal state rife with internal weaknesses, including a poor demographic profile.  As Russia may further expand state management of key sectors of the national economy, pervasive corruption will fester at high levels of the Russian state-corporate complex, and human rights abuses continue.  The foreign policy of the Putin-Medvedev administration will likely include escalating tensions with the United States and the UK, a divide-and-conquer approach vis-à-vis the rest of Europe, and continuing rapprochement with Iran, China and Venezuela.  Whoever resides in the White House will have much to do dealing with the resurgent Russia.

More About the Speakers

WELCOME AND OPENING REMARKS

Helle Dale
Deputy Director,
Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis
Institute for International Studies, and
Director,
Douglas and Sarah Allison
Center for Foreign Policy Studies,
The Heritage Foundation

PANEL 1

Moderator:
Ariel Cohen
Senior Research Fellow,
Russian and Eurasian Studies and
International Energy Security,
Douglas and Sarah Allison
Center for Foreign Policy Studies,
The Heritage Foundation

Ian C. Kelly
Director,
Office of Russian Affairs,
U.S. Department of State

Andrei Illarionov - Invited
Senior Fellow,
Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity,
Cato Institute

Anders Aslund
Senior Fellow,
Peterson Institute

Donald Jensen
Director of Research and Analysis,
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

PANEL 2

Moderator:
Blair Ruble
Director,
Kennan Institute

Sarah E. Mendelson
Director,
Human Rights and Security Initiative, and
Senior Fellow,
Russia and Eurasia,
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Simon Serfaty
Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in
Global Security and Geostrategy, and
Senior Adviser,
Europe Program,
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Ariel Cohen
Senior Research Fellow,
Russian and Eurasian Studies and
International Energy Security,
Douglas and Sarah Allison
Center for Foreign Policy Studies,
The Heritage Foundation

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