Author Archive

Ellen Leafstedt

Ellen Leafstedt is a first-year MPhil candidate in Russian & East European studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Her research interests are in the idea of legitimacy in authoritarian states, focusing on nation-building and the social contract in Russia and Kazakhstan.

On 15 January, President Vladimir Putin called for a “greater balance between the branches of power” as he announced significant changes to the Russian constitution. On the same day, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet resigned and were quickly replaced. The new Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, was a relatively unknown figure in Russia until recently, having previously spearheaded digital modernization efforts as head of the Federal Tax Service.  The surprise changes are seen as preparation for the Putin’s departure from the presidency in 2024 given current constitutional restrictions, which prevent him from being president more than two consecutive terms. The proposed constitutional reforms would not facilitate his return to the post in the future, however, but instead propose to weaken the presidency …