Hybrid CoE Trend Report 1: Putin 4.0 Trends – Is there anything new?

by Hanna Smith and Christina Juola (eds.) - August 16, 2019

Russian politics is often characterized with the words continuity and change. When looking at trends relating to Russia and analysing the implications of these trends for Western countries and especially for Hybrid CoE’s member states, as well as for EU and NATO members, both continuity and change need to be kept in mind. If there is continuity, what does it mean in the current situation and for the future? Does it automatically imply more of the same? If there is change, what are the implications, how should we adapt to them and under- stand them, and how will they affect the future?

This report looks at the main trends affecting Putin’s fourth term as President of the Russian Federation. Many of the trends are continuations from previous years, while others started during Putin’s third term. This report is not suggesting that major changes are on the horizon; however, existing trends may have significant implications for the future. In Russian strategic planning, long-term perspectives are significant but often ignored. Even continuity can express itself in different ways depending on time, opportunity, events and context.

Five trends are duly identified in this report:

I. Non-institutional delegation of policy-making and outsourcing, II. Growing tensions within the Russian ruling elite in the run-up to 2024, III. Economic policies in Putin’s Russia in 2018–2024, IV. Strate- gic solitude and the effects of the strategic culture of the military and security services, V. Pretending to be a global power by reaching out to non-Western partners.