R.Politik CEO and founder, Tatiana Stanovaya, is regularly quoted by major Russian and international media outlets. She is available for commentary in Russian and English.

Commentary for the WSJ

Putin’s Bid to Extend Rule Is Approved by Russia’s Parliament

Constitutional changes could make Putin the longest-ruling leader in Russia’s modern history, surpassing Stalin

The amendment passed this week, however, could galvanize the Russian opposition as it provides a clear path for Mr. Putin to remain in power, said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of political analysis firm R.Politik.

“The opposition received an important reason to question and attack Putin’s reform. All the hopes for change crashed yesterday,” Ms. Stanovaya said. “It will be a challenge for the Kremlin.”

A series of constitutional amendments Mr. Putin recently proposed are also a sign of his increasingly traditionalist, nationalistic policies, observers say. They include a provision effectively banning same-sex marriage and enshrining in the constitution the mention of Russians’ “faith in God.”

Mr. Putin’s rule “becomes more ideological and it fuels more radical, more nationalistic-minded forces, conservatives to push forward their agenda and to tighten the screws,” Ms. Stanovaya said.


Commentary for The Washington Post

Putin once told Russians he didn’t want to be the ‘eternal president.’ Now it appears he does.

By Isabelle Khurshudyan 

March 11, 2020 at 5:04 p.m. GMT+1

Putin in January even recommended stricter presidential term limits and the transfer of more power to parliament.So his apparent shift Tuesday caught Russians off guard. The message now is that Putin could be in the Kremlin until he is in his 80s.

“We were convinced that Putin is going to leave in 2024, and finally we see that we all were wrong,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at Carnegie Moscow Center and the head of R. Politik, a think tank. Now, she said, the constitutional process seems built to avoid being accused of simply appointing himself “the eternal president,” Stanovaya added.

“As we understand it now, there are two Putins,” Stanovaya said. “One Putin dreams about the very far future, where we will have a just and democratic system with a rotation of leaders.

“But if we’re talking about now, present-day Putin thinks about stability, about enemies abroad, crises,” she added. “And for him, it’s not a good moment to begin to live in this illusionary good world where we have a successor.”


Commentary for Reuters

Putin approves changes allowing him to stay in power until 2036

Putin, 67, now had more room to maneuver politically, said Tatiana Stanovaya, a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

His stance handed him the option to run again in 2024 should he choose to do so and removed political challenges raised by what had been seen as his last term in the Kremlin, she added.

“The successor issue disappears. The issue of Putin as a lame duck disappears,” said Stanovaya.

Opposition activists said they planned to protest against what some called a rewriting of the constitution in the interests of the ruling elite. One group said it had applied for permission to stage a demonstration on March 21.


Commentary for AFP

Russian gaming guru enters politics, but is he playing for the Kremlin?

Observers say it’s also unlikely that any of the new parties will meet the five percent threshold needed to enter parliament.
“The main objective is really to minimise the risk of a decline in the popularity of the ruling United Russia party,” said Tatiana Stanovaya of the R.Politik think tank.
– Ruling party woes –
United Russia is experiencing a slump in support over Russia’s ailing economy, with just 33 percent of voters saying they will cast their ballots for the once-dominant party in upcoming elections, according to state polling agency VTsIOM.
The figures mark a steep decline from 2016, when United Russia won 54 percent of votes in legislative elections.
Another recent entry to politics was Sergei Shnurov, the lead singer of hit rock group Leningrad.
Shnurov joined the Growth Party — founded in 2016 by a Putin ally — last month, taking care to delete old social media comments critical of the president.
This sudden burst of activity, says Stanovaya, is designed by the Kremlin to draw attention from Russia’s difficulties.
“These manoeuvres are not an attempt to talk about the future of the country,” she said, instead describing it as a strategy to “avoid real problems”.


Commentary for Libération

Russie : Vladimir Poutine remet son compteur présidentiel à zéro

Par Veronika Dorman

Prenant de vitesse l’opposition et les observateurs, le Président a fait voter à la Douma un amendement qui lui permettra de briguer un nouveau mandat en 2024, voire en 2030.

«Mais on s’est tous laissés endormir», regrette la politologue Tatiana Stanovaya, qui avait déniché une déclaration de Poutine datant de 2008 dans laquelle il parlait d’une «réinitialisation» du compteur des mandats, si jamais on enlevait de la Constitution la limitation à deux mandats consécutifs. «A l’époque, j’avais fini par me ranger à l’avis des juristes que j’avais consultés, selon lesquels une telle décision était beaucoup trop explosive, car anticonstitutionnelle, et qu’il n’oserait pas…»

Poutine lui-même a distillé ces dernières semaines de faibles signaux pouvant annoncer un possible départ en parlant d’alternance, de changements… «Et pendant ce temps, le débat sur la réforme constitutionnelle s’est déplacé sur des sujets comme les enfants, Dieu, le Conseil d’Etat, libéré du poids mortifère de la question de savoir si Poutine restait ou non», poursuit Stanovaya.


Who will replace Putin?

Russian leader is likely to choose a loyal successor who will ensure Putinism lives on.



MOSCOW — The race to become the next Russian president has already begun.

The constitutional changes Vladimir Putin announced earlier this month raised more questions than they answered, but they suggest he will have to choose someone to replace him when his term in the presidency ends in 2024.

The proposed overhaul, now making its way through the Kremlin-loyal parliament, will bar Putin from remaining in power after 2024 and close the loophole that allowed him to return to the presidency after a brief stint as prime minister from 2008 to 2012.

But it has also been designed to make sure that, while Putin may one day go, Putinism will stay.

“Putinism is now the mainstream … [and] has the support of the population,” said Tatyana Stanovaya, an analyst with R.Politik and Carnegie Center Moscow.

In orchestrating his handover, Putin’s objective is straightforward, said Baunov: “The Russia he created should remain his Russia.”


The article for Carnegie Moscow Center

Russia’s New Government Is Its Least Political Yet

January 23, 2020

By Tatiana Stanovaya

Russia’s new cabinet ministers are young, efficient, nonconfrontational, adaptable, and don’t poke their noses into politics. They live in the digital world that is so difficult for the country’s aging leadership to understand. With time, the victim of this technocratic dominance may be that very same leadership.

The Russian government has never been as nonpolitical as it is today. The new cabinet appointed by President Vladimir Putin this week is purely technocratic. It seems that eighteen months after he began his fourth presidential term, Putin has finally put in place the government he will need to help him navigate the handover of power to a successor.


The article for Carnegie Moscow Center

United Russia’s Rehabilitation Means a Tightening of the Screws

November 27, 2019

By Tatiana Stanovaya

The ruling party will clearly retain its central place under any future scenario for the transition of power, and anyone who hurries to jump on the bandwagon today will likely come out on top.

The fate of the United Russia ruling party has long been under discussion, following a slump in its ratings and electoral defeats for its candidates: will it be replaced with some kind of new project, merged into a broader coalition, or put to the side completely? The party’s annual congress that took place in Moscow on November 23, therefore, was expected to shed light on the Kremlin’s plans for the party. After all, in many ways, the endurance of the regime itself depends on the strength of the party’s position.


The Article for RIDDLE

Meet Russia’s “Saviour-in-Chief”

In recent years, Russia’s Minister of Defence Sergey Shoigu has virtually become part of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, alongside the president’s former colleagues from his days in the St Petersburg mayoralty and his fellow comrades at the KGB. By virtue of his deep involvement in the Russian president’s geopolitical designs, the head of Russia’s armed forces has become one of a select group which is in close and constant contact with the head of the state. This has even prompted speculation about whether Shoigu could become Putin’s anointed successor in future years; after all, he certainly occupies a significant role in the state’s decision making processes. But how close to the president is he really?

“Now more than ever, Putin is seriously considering the famed Tuvan as a potential president of Russia. And for the first time in at least 13 years, Shoigu is signalling that he consents to this ‘relocation;’ that he is ready for this game,” wrote the famous journalist Stanislav Kucher in Kommersant in November 2012, when Shoigu was appointed Russia’s Minster of Defence. Precisely seven years have passed since then: the country has changed, international affairs have changed significantly, and in this context Shoigu has “gone with the flow.” His department eventually came to play a crucial role in realising Putin’s grandiose geopolitical projects.


Commentary for Carnegie Moscow Center

Post-Putin Uncertainty Means a Jittery Russian Elite and Brittle Regime

By Tatiana Stanovaya, November 1, 2019

Amid the uncertainty over what will happen when Putin steps down in 2024, everyone is striving to claim exclusive functions that could later be required by Putin during the implementation of his plan for the transition of power.

In some ways, it seems strange to talk of a political crisis: the Moscow protests have been stamped out and amounted to nothing, pro-regime candidates won in nearly all the regional elections, and political life in Russia appears to be returning to normal.


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