Interviewer: RAFAEL KHACHATURIAN. As he sparks an international crisis over a possible invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has seemingly consolidated his control in an increasingly autocratic regime. Scholar of international relations and Russian political economy ILYA MATVEEV argues, however, that Putin’s turn to greater repression is a sign that his base of power is narrowing. In his discussion with political theorist Rafael Khachaturian, Matveev points to the broadening class composition of opposition to Putin, the latent dissatisfaction of the billionaire class (despite its continued dependence on the regime), the failure of the Russian government’s COVID response, and Putin’s inability or unwillingness to rally supporters in the streets – all of which forces him to rely more heavily on pure state repression and heightened right-wing rhetoric invoking threats to ethnic Russians. Matveev is Associate Dean for International Relations at the North-Western Institute of Management in St. Petersburg.
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