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The Transition Project: Power Coalitions. Approaches and Likely Composition of Participants in Russia’s Post-Putin Transition

We may not have direct insight into the thoughts and intentions of Russian elites. However, we can speculate on the areas they need to consider for embracing change

We may not have direct insight into the thoughts and intentions of Russian elites. However, we can speculate on the areas they need to consider for embracing change.

Prior to the war, only about half of the Russian ruling class seemed morally prepared to endorse it. While some elites may be benefiting from the war, its prolonged continuation could prove costly for them. They are confronted with a pivotal decision: persist in the downward trajectory of simplification and archaization at the expense of their status and possibly their lives — or take action to eradicate the root of this threat. 

The dilemma lies in the elites’ inability to envision a clear exit strategy or an alternative vision for the future. Consequently, they continue to prioritize loyalty to the regime.

Breaking this impasse requires forging a consensus between the intellectually inclined segments of society and the reasonable factions within the elites. The future vision must be straightforward and comprehensible to all stakeholders. However, it shouldn’t entail the dismantling of existing norms, rules, and institutions. Otherwise, rather than sustainable democratization, it risks plunging into chaos and perpetuating cycles of tyranny. 

Free Russia Foundation presents the Transition Project, a comprehensive expert guide to democratic transformation in Russia following a change of power.

This initiative exemplifies a pioneering example of cooperation among scientists, politicians, lawyers, civil society members, and residents of Reforum Spaces resource centers, all working together to devise a unified reform strategy. We are pleased to have engaged specialists from diverse fields and countries, partnering with some of the world’s leading scientific institutions.

Throughout a year of joint effort, we’ve attained a detailed, practical response to the question of what must be done for Russia to evolve into a modern democratic state. This encompasses the establishment of relations between governmental branches, coordination between the central authority and regional entities, and fostering unity among the various peoples inhabiting the nation. The work of our authors is already becoming integral to the agenda of Russian civil society and Western policymakers.

The publication comprises 12 chapters addressing all facets of reforms, ranging from the unsuccessful transition of the 1990s and a sociological survey of Russian society to changes in the economy, freedom of speech, and local self-government. Additionally, a team of lawyers has drafted legislative acts that complement the experts’ analyses.

The complete version of the Transition Project will be available on Free Russia Foundation website by the end of May 2024.

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