According to a few political commentators, Frustration with the Ukraine war’s costs and accumulating economic sanctions might lead to President Putin’s popularity demise. The current scenario plus the popular narrative surrounding it has emboldened some analysts to believe that a successful coup against Putin is a possibility.
A Vox reportage mentioned that, two possible scenarios: a military coup or a popular uprising. Despite all the talk of Putin losing power, neither of these scenarios appears to be realistic in Russia. This is due in large part to Putin’s preparations, which are about as well as any ruler could accomplish. At the same time, experts on authoritarianism and Russian politics aren’t ready to rule out the possibility of Putin’s downfall.
While there may be increasing speculations running amok, be it a military coup or popular uprising, Putin has prepared plan B for all scenarios.
Over the last two decades, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his associates have restructured practically every major part of the Russian state with the goal of reducing regime challenges. Putin has detained or executed prominent dissidents, and rendered the country’s ruling class reliant on his goodwill for survival.
As mentioned in the Vox report, Naunihal Singh has tried to figure out what causes coups and what makes them likely to succeed using statistical analysis, game theory, and historical case studies.
Military coups are more likely in low-income countries, regimes that are neither fully democratic nor entirely autocratic, and countries where coups have recently occurred. None of these circumstances apply to modern Russia, a staunchly authoritarian middle-income country that hasn’t had a coup attempt since the early 1990s. Against this backdrop, we can confirm that the Putin show will plod on.
A common narrative that is gaining traction is that since the war began, a revolution against Putin has grown more likely. According to some observers, it’s probably more possible than a coup. More public uprisings than coups have occurred in post-Soviet countries such as Georgia, Belarus, and Ukraine in the twenty-first century. Despite this, the best evidence suggests that the chances of one erupting in Russia remain low.
The reality on the ground is that the popularity and support for the Russian President are extremely high. As earlier mentioned by TFIGlobal, in Russia, the average citizen sees the conflict as a war of necessity – one forced onto Russia by NATO and Ukraine. This was confirmed by a poll conducted by the Levada Center, a non-governmental polling firm widely trusted in the West, where more than 66% of Russians blamed the conflict on America, NATO, or Ukraine while only 4% said the conflict was Russia’s fault. Many factors including the stories of social ostracisation that the Russian are facing in the west is only igniting these feelings.
All in all, the Russian Federation is currently becoming a living definition of the “rally around the flag” phenomenon. It takes place when there’s a short-term surge in voter approval as the nation unites behind its leader during a crisis or emergency.
It can be difficult to discuss occurrences with a low probability, such as the collapse of the Putin administration. However, given all the facts in front of us, Putin is well placed politically and has prepared for years on how to deal with a major revolution or a coup if emerged. According to some sources, it has been his greatest concern since the Arab Spring, particularly the Euromaidan upheaval in Ukraine in 2013. So, it is highly unlikely that a prepared Putin would be faced with any significant coup.