“How Fragile is the Putin System?”


Inter­na­tional Expert Network Russia
Network Meeting
“How Fragile is the Putin System?”

20 November 2023

Centre for Eastern Studies (ul. Koszykowa 6a, 00–564 Warsaw) and online

This event is held in the framework of the Center for Liberal Modernity’s Expert Network Russia. For more infor­ma­tion about the network, click here!

The failed Wagner uprising exposed a funda­mental weakness in Russia’s system of power: neither the political elite, the security services nor the popu­la­tion were eager to defend the leader in the Kremlin. We could see the element of panic in Putin’s address to the Russian people.

Yet, since Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death, Vladimir Putin’s grip on power seems firmer than ever. But serious questions remain: How long will Putin be able to control the elites and suppress both those who want to stop the war and those who want to fight it more aggres­sively? How will the lack of signif­i­cant military success in Ukraine affect his power? Does the Kremlin have the economic and military capacity to wage a protracted war? What is the impact of Western sanctions and how they should be recalibrated?

We will seek answers to these questions and take stock of the West’s policy towards Russia and its strategic options.

 ***Please note that the event will be held under CHATHAM HOUSE RULES***

Programme – as of 16 November 2023

9:30 – 10:00
Welcoming and Introduction

  • Wojciech Konończuk, Centre for Eastern Studies, Warsaw
  • Ralf Fücks, Centre for Liberal Modernity, Berlin

10:00 – 11:30

Session One: Cracks in the ruling elite: Oligarchs, Tech­nocrats or the Siloviki?


  • Maria Domanska, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), Warsaw
  • Abbas Gallyamov, inde­pen­dent political analyst (online)
  • Arkady Mil-Man, Senior Researcher and the Head of the Russia Program at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel-Aviv Univer­sity (online)
  • Alexandra Prokopenko, visiting fellow, Center for Order and Gover­nance in Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia, German Council on Foreign Relations, Berlin.

Moder­a­tion: Maria Sannikova-Franck, Centre for Liberal Modernity

11:30 – 12:00 Coffee Break 

12:00 — 13:30

Session Two: The Russian economy between war and sanctions – forecasts and recommendations


  • Janis Kluge, Senior Associate, Eastern Europe and Eurasia Division, German Institute for Inter­na­tional and Security Affairs (SWP), Berlin
  • Iwona Wiśniewska, Senior Fellow, Russia Depart­ment, Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), Warsaw (online)
  • Pavel Luzin, Visiting scholar at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts Univer­sity, Boston (online)


  • Konstantin Sonin, John Dewey Distin­guished Service Professor at the Univer­sity of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy (online)

Moder­a­tion: Tony van der Togt, Senior Research Fellow, Clin­gen­dael Russia and Eastern Europe Centre, The Hague

13:30 ‑14:30 Lunch

14:30 — 16:00

Session Three: Scenarios of change: Should and could the West promote political change in Russia?


  • Marek Menkiszak, Head of the Russia Depart­ment, Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), Warsaw
  • Mikhail Khodor­kovsky, co-founder of the Russian Anti-War Committee (online)
  • Marie Mendras, Professor at the Paris School of Inter­na­tional Affairs Science-Po (online)
  • David Salvo, Managing Director, Alliance for Securing Democracy and Malign Auto­cratic Influence, German Marshall Fund, Wash­ington, DC (online)

Moder­a­tion: Ralf Fücks, Center for Liberal Modernity, Berlin

16:00 – 17:00 Closing remarks

To register, please click on the button above!

PLEASE NOTE If you have already regis­tered via the link in the Save the Date email, we have received your regis­tra­tion and will contact you as soon as possible. There is no need to register again. Thank you!

19:00 ‑20:30

Public Discus­sion

“Poland and Germany: Goals and Policies towards Russia and Ukraine. What Next?”

Foun­da­tion for German-Polish Coop­er­a­tion (ul. Zielna 37, 00–108 Warsaw) and online

For details, click here!

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