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Is This Russia’s Next Leader?

Is this Russia's next leader?
 At the Gozhsky test ground during the final stage of the Zapad-2013 Russian-Belarusian strategic military exercises. With Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu
Image by
Kremlin.ru

How do you campaign for an election that doesn’t exist? Or lobby against policies that you’re meant to support? In late Putinism, the answer is often to do so publicly, loudly, but deniably. Politics is in the air, after all, with a sense that the country’s future, so long locked behind walls of conformity and conservatism, may be up for grabs.

As I wrote in my last column, this also means debate has erupted within the elite, on everything from succession to stimulus, personalia to policy.

Perhaps the most striking expression of this was the recent interview Minister Sergei Shoigu gave to the middle-brow pro-government newspaper Moskovskii Komsomolets in September. The perennially-popular Shoigu is paradoxically reclusive and ubiquitous. He is forever on screen and page, briefing the president (or hunting and hiking with him), presiding over pyrotechnic military exercises, or dispensing carefully-calculated sound bites…

To read more visit The Moscow Times.

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