The Kremlin’s unprecedented reaction to Vladimir Putin’s falling ratings in the polls shows just how nervous he and those around him are. But he remains untouched because those who could overthrow him are so deeply a part of his system and are very much aware that they would be next if they got rid of him, political commentator Andrey Piontkovsky says.
In an authoritarian system like Mr. Putin’s, the Russian opposition commentator says, the overwhelming majority of Russians who don’t like Mr. Putin are not in a position to force him out. They lack the organizational structures and leaders needed to achieve that.
And the pandemic that has driven down the Russian president’s ratings to under 20 percent, Mr. Piontkovsky continues, has paradoxically reduced their possibilities still further by putting in place “a large number of restrictions and monitoring that will remain after the coronavirus ends” because such arrangements protect the Kremlin leader.