Fiona Hill

Fiona Hill: Putin’s Running Out of Time

July 14, 2022
Foreign Policy

This is a summary of an interview originally published by Foreign Policy, with the subheading: "A top Russia advisor to three U.S. presidents explains why the world shouldn’t fall for Moscow’s narrative that it can wait out the West in Ukraine."

In this interview, Fiona Hill says:

  • “[Putin] is fearful of a repetition [in 2024] of what happened when he last returned to the presidency in 2011 and 2012, where we had protests in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major [Russian] cities.”
  • “Russia is often ripe for protests, particularly on socioeconomic issues. Putin’s going to worry about that as we get toward 2024 for another reason: There are people around Putin who believe he’s not justified in having this next set of two terms. He was supposed to end his term in 2024. He extended his ability to run again for another 12 years until 2036, which will put him into his 80s. But the more weakened he is [and] the less legitimate he appears, the less it appears that he’s popular and the more incentive there is for others to try to maneuver around him to push on succession. Putin wants to get this conflict over with. He wants to seem legitimate.”
  • “The risk is that he declares an operational pause or a truce at the point to try to consolidate those gains, and it is really nothing more than a truce to punctuate what’s really an ongoing conflict.”
  • “I think it’s evident to Russians behind the scenes that with all of their ties to Europe being cut, they’re left with the rest of the world—and that increases their dependency on China.”
  • “Putin is pretty much betting that the [U.S.] midterm elections will undermine Biden and that by 2024, the United States will be in a great big mess ... it’s not just Jan. 6. It’s this idea that the United States is out of control. Putin feeds on this. When you see Putin trying to exploit all of these hot-button issues, part of it is obviously to put us against each other, but it’s also to make the United States look less of a leader and diminished in an international context.”

Read the full interview at Foreign Policy.

The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the interviewee. Photo by Sharon Farmer shared under a Creative Commons license.