Putin’s Aides Shocked by His Presidential Power Play

Vladimir Putin’s surprise move to allow himself to remain as president until 2036 caught even many Kremlin insiders off guard, leaving some feeling deceived by his motivation for changing the constitution…

It also reveals difficulties Putin faced in maintaining a careful political balance as rival Kremlin factions began jostling for position ahead of a succession that was still four years away. The move was seen as a way to end growing uncertainty about the president’s ability to keep control and bring restless elites into line, two senior officials said.

“This was one of the most brilliant special operations of Putin’s rule,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, head of R. Politik, a political consultancy. If he had set out his plan in January, “it would have triggered massive protests and given time to derail the referendum,” she said.

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