On May 7 Vladimir Putin’s presidential inauguration is taking place. The occupant of office is facing his fourth term as President of Russia, and although his victorious election (in which he scored 75.0 % of the votes) brought glory and most of all reassurance, it brought pressure as well. Putin is preparing for his most difficult term both internationally and domestically.
As the biggest country in the world, Russia feels powerful, it feels impactful – however, in comparison, its economy is rather weak. Much needed investments are missing, and the Russian economy lacks a stimulating uplift of youth and freshness; those active and ambitious to add exactly that feel the window of chances is narrow, due to sanctions initiated by the West.
With Putin in office, many are of the opinion that none of that is going to change. Consequentially, they leave the country to shoot their shot somewhere else, mostly in the West, benefiting an economy that imposes sanctions against their own country of origin inevitably partaking in the further weakening Russia’s own economy. Said cycle has shown no signs of coming to an end, but Putin seems to have recognized the main problems. Back in March he promised big reforms in finance, health care, environment and education – measurements the growing discontent and impatience in his country have forced him to take.
In addition, Russia’s international policy is being questioned from citizens. The annexation of the Krim in 2014, which was widely frowned upon internationally, caused ecstatic approval domestically – the interfering in the war of Syria did not evoke a similar effect. Instead, it was met with disapproval. Furthermore, Russia’s spat with the U.S. seems to escalate under President Trump, in times when both superpowers should stand together. The United Kingdom is simultaneously pushing for a western anti-Russia alliance, critics are calling the current situation the “new Cold War.” Putin is in desperate need of a victory regarding foreign policy, but none seems to be in sight.
His fourth term ends in 2024 and while Putin has started to look after his legacy, it is believed he and his most trusted will still be in power after. In spite of pressure rising, he still finds wide approval, as the electoral results show. President Putin is a bold and audacious man, that will do anything he must to remain in the position he is in – even if that means amending the constitution.
However, time is running out and expectations are high for Putin to reach Russia’s full potential, as he is facing his most difficult term yet.