“Regimes like this change behaviour or get replaced through two sources, a palace coup by the elite, or by mass protests.”
“Mr Putin is afraid of both,” says Russian economist Sergei Guriev.
“The elites are very unhappy. Imagine you’ve been building a company for 20 or 30 years, and it’s destroyed in one week,” he says. However, he feels Putin is smarter with the Russian population.
“He plays divide and rule with the elite … but also, he invests a lot in brainwashing the population, saying you’re suffering, but this is economic aggression by the West, and we are innocent, we are a victim.”
Guriev argues that despite economic hardship, a majority of Russians will remain reluctant and afraid to push for real change. “Russians are now going below the poverty line, but can they protest against that? The answer is no because Putin’s police are still well paid and happy to put down the protesters.”
On UpFront, Marc Lamont Hill asks Guriev, an economist, scientific director of the economics masters and PhD programmes at Sciences Po Paris, and co-author of the book, Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century, whether economic sanctions on Russia will fuel dissent against Putin at home and what effect they could have on the global economy.