Kremlinology

Kremlinology is back in fashion, and nearly everybody has a theory about what is wrong with Putin.

For comparison, see this video of Putin from November 2014:

Others thought that it might not be Putin, but a body double.  However, this is irrelevant here because the narrative being built by the Kremlin is that Putin is still alive and in control of the situation.

The other thing that people noted was the fact that the market did not really react to rumors of Putin’s poor health and/or demise:

For a summary of other things that seemed off-kilter about yesterday’s show:

Stanislav Belkovsky was still trying to spin this as if it were a clan war.

As I have said previously, I am not against the clan war theory, but I am not convinced that Belkovsky’s players are the real ones.  Yes, Kadyrov is a problem, and he will have to be removed eventually.  But is that what this is?  Again, it just reminds me of the pains experienced in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, when there was allegedly some internal debate about who would replace Putin, and Medvedev was eventually chosen as a “compromise candidate”.

Medvedev also made a reappearance yesterday:

Meanwhile, Slava Rabinovich posted on Facebook that:

If this is the beginning of the end of Putinism, the clan wars will only get dirtier.  But how much of them we will be allowed to see is debatable.  If changes in the government do occur, they will likely take place in what I would call “middle management” (not Ministers and members of the Government, but deputy ministers and aides).  And, in fact, may look something like this:

At the same time, economist Sergei Guriev made the following statement:

And Russia’s Economy Minister said

Don’t expect a transfer of power to occur overnight.

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