For years, observers have been speculating over which fatal illness afflicts Russian President Vladimir Putin. But in recent months this discussion has snowballed. Pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, blood cancer, or long-standing back problems? True or not, these rumors have forced everyone to think seriously about what would happen if Putin were gone.
The opposition tends to believe that if Putin departs, his regime will go with him and there would be a chance for a “new perestroika.” Conservatives think this moment would be a chance to tighten the screws.
Either way, there is deep uncertainty about what – and who – would come next.