Putin has delivered a string of victories abroad. But is he as strong as he seems at home?

Vladimir Putin is in a stronger position than anyone – including, probably, himself -- could have imagined at the beginning of 2016.  

From his perspective, the successes include President Donald Trump’s election victory, a disunited Europe and unexpected Russian military dominance in the Syrian arena. Fiscal stability should ease the task of securing (and policing) general acquiescence for Putin’s 2018 presidential bid. Investor interest has revived, and Western sanctions no longer appear to be a critical factor in the economy.

Yet uncertainties remain: GDP will expand modestly in the next few years; the Trump administration continues to send mixed and hard-to-read messages about its intentions; and Russia’s capacity to project geopolitical power has limits.

  • Is there the will and capacity in Moscow to reform the economy on the scale needed to achieve higher growth?
  • Where does the thaw with Trump leave Putin’s domestic narrative of ‘Russia encircled’?
  • If Russia has ‘won’ in Syria, what can it do with that success?
  • Will Moscow mend relationships with former Soviet friends and foes, or should even allies like Belarus and Kazakhstan be worried?


  • Professor of Russian and Eurasian International Relations
    University of Oxford
  • Lecturer in Russian Government
    University of Oxford
  • Advisor on Russian Economics
    Oxford Analytica
  • Senior Analyst, Russia/CIS
    Oxford Analytica
  • Fellow, St Antony’s College
    University of Oxford

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