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‘Executive power in Russia’: How we know what we know about Kremlin politics and what to expect from Putin's new Constitutional shakeup

32 minutes
‘Executive power in Russia’: How we know what we know about Kremlin politics and what to expect from Putin's new Constitutional shakeup
00:0031:41

Most weeks, it's fair to say that you could probably roll your eyes at a 30-minute podcast about the inner workings of executive power in Russia. But the issue is suddenly urgent. Two days ago, Vladimir Putin delivered his annual state-of-the-nation speech, where he surprised the country by calling for Constitutional amendments that would radically redistribute power in the Russian state, possibly weakening the presidential administration. And then his entire cabinet resigned, and long-time Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was moved (some would say demoted) to a new number-two spot on Russia’s Security Council.

While you never really need an excuse in Russia to talk about Vladimir Putin or the Kremlin, the inspiration for this episode of “The Naked Pravda” was Andrey Pertsev’s October 2019 story about Sergey Kiriyenko, Putin’s current first deputy chief of staff and the supposed manager of Russia’s domestic politics. But the article is more than a Kiriyenko profile. It offers a broader look at his office in the Kremlin and at the Putin presidential administration itself, which remains enormously hard to comprehend, even two decades after Putin first took office.

To understand the mechanics of Kremlin analysis, or Kremlinology, host Kevin Rothrock turned to some of the brightest political experts around.

In this episode:

  • (3:51) Maria Lipman on Kremlinology's shortcomings
  • (5:42) Konstantin Gaaze says Russia's state ideology was designed accidentally as a “life hack”
  • (8:10) Brian Taylor on the presidential administration's relationship with Russia's Constitution
  • (22:28) Yana Gorokhovskaia says the proposed reforms will weaken Russia's super-presidential system
  • (24:14) Sam Greene highlights the newfound importance of the State Council
  • (25:58) Mark Galeotti explains Dmitry Medvedev's new home: the Security Council

“The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays. Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”

Producer, sound editing, and mixing — Kevin Rothrock

Executive producer — Alexandr Sadikov

Music — Victor Davydov

Send any questions or comments to kevin@meduza.io