The historian Valery Solovei had this to say about the rumored reforms of the government that are supposedly coming:
Over the past two days I have received several dozen requests to comment on the possible reform of the state administration (the replacement of the presidency by the State Council as a central element of [this plan])….
He then lists four points on the subject. First, he writes:
Projects of drastic constitutional reform and structural renovation have been floating around the political establishment for the past decade. One of them was the idea of the creation of a State Council. The closest historical analogue to such a collective management is the Soviet Politburo.
He continues to his second argument:
The only point of creating a State Council at this moment in time is the inability to provide such personal continuity of the highest authority, which would be acceptable to the major groups of elites and society.
That is, there is nobody who could replace Putin. I do not agree with Solovei’s rationalization here. Vladimir Putin came seemingly out of nowhere to become President of Russia. Granted it took a lot of work to make it happen, but it could be done again. See for example the sales job and transformation that the Regime took on to make Dmitry Medvedev a viable candidate in 2008.
Solovei continues to his third point:
If we begin to politically, informationally, and legally move in this direction in the coming months, it will mean that the succession issue has deteriorated.
And finally, Solovei argues:
Such a radical reform of the higher echelons of the government in our current circumstances will inevitably lead to a sharp weakening of the already inefficient state apparatus, organizational chaos and political disorganization.
Nobody seems to be happy with these proposed “reforms”. But at this point they are mostly still just rumors. In my view, the Regime is putting out feelers to see how society reacts to its propositions.