Serena Giusti, ISPI Senior Associate Research Fellow, presents the new ISPI Studies.
President Putin's third mandate might be threatened by an increasing discontent. The opposition sentiment remains strong despite the Kremlin's efforts to muzzle dissent. Hopes for a quick change that many protesters had during the winter have waned, but opposition supporters appear ready to dig for a long fight.
Yet Russia's leadership is choosing short-term social and political stability at the expense of long-term growth and investment. All the analyses of this study stress the need for modernization and economic diversification as a way for Russia to develop into a normal state. As Popov highlights, despite impressive progress, corruption, oligarchic capitalism, deindustrialization of the economy and decline in R&D, income inequalities, deterioration of health and education, increase in mortality, clericalization of the society and cultural degradation are still impediments to the full success of the country. Busygina puts emphasis on interregional disparities and the gap in development between the centre and the periphery of the country.
On the external front, Wisniewska doubts that the establishment of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space can seriously boosts the economic attractiveness of the region even in the case of Ukraine's accession.
Verda as well insists on the need for a multi-level diversification.
Confronted with the unpredictable trend of the oil price, the Kremlin will need to carefully balance the urgency of the reforms and the preservation of the internal order and political stability. It will be a tough challenge, but it will determine Russia's place in the world for the next decades.

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