Mars 2018 – och sedan? Om successionsfrågan i Putins Ryssland
March 2018 – and then what? The issue of political succession in Putin’s Russia
As president of Russia and a prominent political leader, Vladimir Putin has consistently endeavored
to legitimize his rule by appealing to central political myths and taken-for-granted truths in
Russian society. In rhetoric and official communication, he emerges as the guarantor of domestic
order and stability, the protector of traditional values, and a staunch advocate of Russia’s
status and position as a great power in a world often depicted as hostile. What is being communicated
here, and apparently finds resonance among broad segments of public opinion, is that
on all these parameters Putin is uniquely qualified to lead Russia. Four times in the course of
18 years, Putin has been elected president in the first round of elections, and throughout this
period he has received high rankings in regular monthly opinion polls. However, his legitimation
strategies have been so firmly linked to the persona of Putin that we may speak of an emerging
dilemma with his fourth presidency. Who could fill his shoes as his successor? The article
analyzes this dilemma, taking its point of departure in Weber’s seminal theorizing on types of
legitimate authority and the routinization of charisma. It discusses the evident dearth of credible
successor candidates, and concludes by discussing possible actions for dealing with or postponing
the issue of succession.
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