There was a blog post in the Washington Post yesterday asking “How Long Will Putin Stay in Power?”
The author (whom I have never encountered before) did not really answer the question, only suggesting that Putin will manage to hold on through the 2018 “and beyond”. That is, barring a coup.
Now I know I’m the only one arguing this (in English anyway), but I don’t believe that Putin is really in charge of Russia. If a coup did take place, it took place a long time ago, and nobody realized it.
Putin is still useful to the Regime at the moment and will remain in place until they feel he is no longer useful to their purposes. I suspect what that means is that Putin will die in office, something the author of the blog post neglected to offer as an option.
Putin is part of a system that was created long before he was selected to be Russia’s president. And the system will remain in place long after he is gone unless the Russian people stand up and protest it.