No one knows the true power of Putin or Erdogan

Whether autocrats good state leaders could show competition. But if not, criterion is economy. And she’s ruthless.

Considering how consistently Vladimir Putin recently bypasses the West in geopolitics, the question of whether he is suitable for the post of the state leader and the best choice for the country, the Russians will seem presumptuous. Nevertheless, it remains unanswered. Because de facto, for 16 years of his reign, Putin has never participated in a fair election. Moreover, he never hesitated for a television debate with opponents.

It’s possible that Putin would win because he speaks the language of the people, he is an experienced professional who has always been in public service and knows many important facts and figures. It is also possible that he would lose in a direct confrontation — which, by the way, today no one dares to say out loud. But the idea that there is no one equal to him and also suitable to control the country, is a fiction of trained intelligence political consultants, and, consequently, the myth of the Soviet model.

In any case, the lack of competition leads to two serious consequences that are directly linked. On the one hand, Putin’s image remains impeccable and thoughtful. On the other, the country of his potential opponents discredited as enemies of the state, which is quite dangerous, but in the West they are considered undoubtedly a much better alternative. None of this contributes to establishing the truth.

The question of the qualities of Putin has emerged again last week when, after a difficult trial Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years probation. For many years, the 40-year-old lawyer is a man who lives in the Kremlin, because he was the only politician after Putin came to power, who in late 2011 was able to collect unhappy at mass demonstrations. In the end, the Kremlin was forced to allow him to participate in elections of the mayor of Moscow in 2013, Navalny received 27% of votes. It is still unclear how to conduct themselves with him, said a source in the Kremlin. Especially now that Aleksey Navalny has said that he was going to run for the presidency in 2018, and to compete with Putin. Offer Bulk? Well, except for his charisma and notorious scandal, nothing that would immediately convince the experts. He has the best program for 25 years of presidential elections, but Navalny needs to answer the question, how is he going to change a country that does not want to change, said Andrei Movchan, former investment banker and currently chief economist at the Moscow Carnegie Institute.

In one Movchan wrong: today it is not so much about elaborate alternative concepts, but about the resumption of fair competition.

And while it’s not, Putin will have to evaluate according to the criteria to be measured. In addition to the conquest of the territory in the Crimea and the growing influence in the middle East, such a criterion is economy. Here it looks not so rosy. A two-year recession behind, but today is close to stagnation, the growth will be able to return to the level of 2014 only to 2019-2020 years, according to the Ministry of economy. According to the International monetary Fund for ten years since 2007, the world economy grew by 38%, while the Russian — only 16 %, estimated by the newspaper “Vedomosti”. It’s not the same thing that was in the beginning of the new Millennium, when the Russian economy was growing at one and a half times faster than the world. The last few years, resistance to reforms destroyed these successes, and the debt is not reduced.

Not to blame Putin. But being a hostage of his own system, he does not want and can not start the necessary large-scale reforms, in order not to jeopardize their power.

You can’t have everything. Putin has sacrificed the prosperity of Russia, to save power and to expand geopolitical influence. Also, there are other autocrats, for example, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Nevertheless, the economy remains their touchstone. And the weakest point.