Foreign Policy Digital

Russia’s Future Is Still in the Hands of Putin’s Cronies

The president’s allies are starting to express discontent. They’ll stick with him for now, but a change could be coming.

Russia held elections last week amid a now usual backdrop of protests and arrests. Independent monitors reported election-law violations across the country. Universities were alleged to have purged scholars with pro-opposition views in the runup to the vote. Russia’s Internet regulator declared Facebook and Google to have meddled in the election, interfering in “Russia’s sovereign affairs and hindering the conduct of democratic elections.” And the vote was followed by a nationwide police raid on the offices of opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. Just another election, you might think, in President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Many analysts, however, had a different view. The election itself, which selected the 45 members of the Moscow city council as well as

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