At this time next year, Russia will hold its presidential election. In the lead-up to these elections, the Russian economy will continue on its current negative trajectory. At the same time, President Vladimir Putin, who is not as strong as he outwardly appears, will pursue more security and institutional measures to consolidate his power. Furthermore, the interests of Russia’s political opposition parties and the disgruntled public will increasingly overlap. While the opposition will not transform into a formidable political force by March 2018, the year ahead will lay the groundwork for this build-up.
Russian opposition parties operate primarily at the street level and have little to no national-level organization since the Russian legal system favors pro-Kremlin parties.
Putin plans to use federal security forces and a new batch of appointed governors to control and quell unrest that is becoming more frequent in rural areas and secondary city centers far fro