Abstract

Russia’s political leaders maintain power through their ability to tailor domestic institutions and manage mechanisms as new challenges arise. The Presidential Administration’s Domestic Policy Directorate has become a headquarters for managing society and elites, not least in connection with elections. Instead of focusing on domestic policy, this directorate manages domestic politics. The main challenges facing the Kremlin are, first, overcoming the information deficit; second, keeping society in check and not allowing the emergence of a credible political alternative or criticism that could evolve into mass demonstrations; and, third, ensuring that elites do not build coalitions against the autocrat but instead participate in a power-sharing agreement. The focus and “curatorship” of domestic politics has changed with each person to hold the role of First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, and also with the need for constant adjustment of the defeat-proofing structures within the system as new challenges arise or old ones become more acute.

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