Russia post-Putin: What happens if the president suddenly dies?
PM Mishustin would become acting president and elections would be held, but experts say the substance of a post-Putin Russia is tough to predict.
“He can stay in power for 10 years or more if he wants, it really depends on the circumstances,” political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya told Al Jazeera. “I wouldn’t really pay too much attention to the problem of his health.” Should the 69-year-old die or otherwise leave office suddenly, the Federation Council has 14 days to call presidential elections, and if it does not, the Central Election Commission would.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin would become acting president. However, Mishustin is not seen as being particularly close to Putin, nor a credible candidate for any election. Instead, Stanovaya believes Putin’s departure will leave a power vacuum between business interests, security officials such as Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and other factions of the elite. “If something happens to him tomorrow, I believe that the system would survive; It’s still robust,” said Stanovaya.
“Conservative forces, siloviki [security officials] will seize the political initiative and take over. But if something happens to Putin later – one year or more – in this case, the risks of destabilisation are much higher. We will see infighting and the siloviki would have much less chance to keep the initiative. Next year the situation might be more different and difficult.”