The Putin regime is unlikely to outlive its creator. It’s important tounderstand that the groups in Putin's circle strongly dislike each other and don’t trust each other. They’re unlikely to agree on a successor and the scope of power due to him. Whomever Putin chooses, thatperson will still be closer to some clans and further from others. At least half will be dissatisfied.
Within the Russian elite the principle of “winner takes all” reigns, hence to everyone who doesn’t get the throne, it will seem like its new inhabitant is out to get them. To prevent this, they will try to weaken the successor by all means before he solidifies his power.
In addition, the transformation of the regime into a world pariah, which took place after the start of the war, isn’t in line with the interests of Putin's elites at all. In essence, they’re not zealous commissarsready to lay down their lives in battle for a just cause, but rathercynical money changers, who for many years specialized in converting administrative resources into money and subsequently funneling it to the West.
The ideals of North Korean-style total isolation are completely alien to these people, so it is obvious that they themselves will be at the forefront of efforts to normalize the regime as soon as Putin leaves or is sufficiently weakened. Changes in the country are inevitable, sothe entire question is where they eventually will lead. Determining the nature of the future Russian regime should be considered among themost important strategic tasks of the West in the foreseeable future.
Putin's departure will give Russia a chance, and it shouldn’t be missed.