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Kennan Institute Blog Post: "Putin’s “Popular Monarchism” Leads Russia into Ruin"


Raneil Smith (University of Miami) & De'Vonte Tinsley (Virginia Tech)


Dr. Aaron Retish (Wayne State University) & Joseph Dresen (Kennan Institute)

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This blog post was published in the Kennan Institute's "The Russia File" on November 8, 2022. The post provides a brief overview of the relationship between ordinary Russians and those that rule(d) over them. Whether during the tsarist, soviet, or present regimes, Russian leaders have cultivated their absolute power by promoting themselves as caring rulers who would fix the problems of the common people if they only knew about them. Although this concept generally invests the leader with absolute authority and minimum accountability, it tends to break down in a crisis. While Putin has used this concept to sustain his image, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the problems it has created at home may prove the crisis that topples him and his version of popular monarchism.