Russia’s Next Elections: Putin’s Rival

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The constitutional amendment, which reset Putin’s two terms in office between 2012 and 2024, was approved by popular vote in 2020. According to the article, which was adopted despite criticism from the opposition, the Russian leader, if elected, will be able to run for re-election in 2024 and will be able to serve as head of state for two more terms until 2036.

The 2018 Russian Presidential Election was an election in which Vladimir Putin ran for and won the presidency. Putin’s candidacy for a fourth term, which has been in place since 2012, was an important factor determining the electoral process.

However, international observers and the opposition have criticized that the elections did not take place in a fair and competitive environment. The inability of candidates to compete on equal terms, the influence of the state-controlled media and the restrictions faced by the opposition were among the main issues that overshadowed the electoral process. In fact, Putin is expected to be elected president once again with a majority of the votes.

Putin is expected to run for another term in Russia’s presidential elections next March. If he remains in power until 2036, his tenure will surpass that of Joseph Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union for 29 years, making Putin the longest serving leader in Moscow since the Russian empire. [1]

It is currently unclear who will replace Putin if for some reason he does not appear on the ballot. Even though there are undecided rivals, a few names come to the fore from the opposition and the media.

One of these names is thought to be Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev, who served as Putin’s deputy, served as prime minister until 2020. Medvedev, who later became Deputy Chairman of the National Security Council, has won public admiration as one of the main defenders of the war in Ukraine. However, he is also likely to be affected by past allegations of closeness to the US and reports of corruption.

The second name that comes to the fore is Alexei Dyumin. As Putin’s bodyguard, Dyumin has been seen as Putin’s heir apparent many times due to their long-standing friendship. The fact that Dyumin was the leader of the special forces of the military intelligence organization during Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 gives him an air of courage and success regarding Ukraine. [2]

Sergei Sobyanin is another name that is being considered as a possible successor to Putin. A charismatic figure, Sobyanin has served as the Mayor of Moscow since 2010. Sobyanin has shaped the capital by making significant innovations and changes and has received many praises from the public.

The new Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishutin, is Putin’s successor. This is how Putin took office in 1999 after the resignation of Boris Yeltsin. He seems to be a diplomat with a lot of approval, but due to his lack of enthusiasm, he has had his name removed from the list of candidates.

Nikolai Patrushev is one of the potential candidates who shows similar characteristics to Putin. They were both born 10 months apart in Leningrad. Patrushev became the head of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB, in 1999 when Putin became prime minister. Patrushev advocates the preservation of the country’s traditions, a philosophical stance similar to Putin’s. The two are like-minded and share a common hostility towards the West.

In conclusion, Vladimir Putin seems to be the likely candidate and winner of the Russian elections in March 2024. However, there is no clear consensus on the candidates who will replace Putin in the unlikely scenario that he will not be re-elected. It would be very difficult for Putin’s successor to govern Russia within the framework of the same political decisions and to have the same impact on the world that Putin has had. Although there are many strong rivals, it seems almost impossible to replace Putin.

[1] Andrew Roth, “Vladimir Putin Passes Law That May Keep Him in Office Until 2036”, The Guardian, (Erişim Tarihi: 03.11.2023).

[2] Jim Heintz, “Putin Is Expected To Seek Reelection in Russia, But Who Would Run If He Doesn’t?”, AP News,, (Erişim Tarihi: 03.11.2023).

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