President Vladimir Putin is not taking a summer vacation. He has instead maintained a busy schedule of meetings with government officials and regional governors. But his grip on the steering wheel of Russia’s foreign and domestic policy is far from steady.
The Kremlin appears firmly in control of the forthcoming parliamentary elections, but the “managed democratic” process will inevitably ensure that the next State Duma will also be part of the problem of the degradation of the Russian state. Putin clings to the privilege of presiding over this process but has no control over its speed.