Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Kremlin.

Sitrep: Putin, President For Life?

Russian affairs expert Stephen Dalziel told the BFBS Sitrep podcast why Russia's Vladimir Putin is desperate to stay in power.

Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin‘s desire to remain effectively ’president for life’ is a self-preservation tactic, a Russian affairs expert told this week’s BFBS Sitrep podcast.

Stephen Dalziel, former Russian affairs analyst for the BBC World Service and Executive Director of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, said: “Everyone knows that Putin wants to stay on, the main reason why he wants to stay on is because he doesn’t dare step down.

“He trusts no one.

"Putin is terrified that if he steps down, someone will actually have it in for him."

Earlier this year, Mr Putin suggested wide-ranging constitutional reforms, sparking speculation that he may be making a move to cement his presidency for life.

This was confirmed when Putin backed a law that could see him remain president until 2036, and on Monday, Russia’s highest court approved these constitutional changes.

All that remains in his way is a nationwide referendum that is expected to pose little threat.

LISTEN: Stephen Dalziel speaks to BFBS Sitrep.

Mr Dalziel believes the Russian leader's wish to remain in office is due to his desire to retain the extreme wealth he has accumulated during his time as president.  

He also said that Russia has become a "kleptocracy" - a state with corrupt leaders that uses the natural resources and apparatus of the state to increase their own personal wealth.

“It has become a kleptocracy and he has become so filthy rich...that he just wants to hang on to that,” he said.

Alongside the implications in Russia, Mr Dalziel believes if Mr Putin continues to act like a "bully", then the UK must "stand up to him".

“You need to hold him to account and say…we are not going to forget what happened in Salisbury two years ago, we are not going to forget the Litvinenko case," he said.

“And if it makes for frosty diplomatic relations then so be it." 

You can hear the programme live on Thursdays on BFBS Radio 2 at 16:30 (UK time) and at 18:30 (UK time) BFBS via DAB+ across the UK. 

Listen online and via our radio App in the UK and overseas.  BFBS is also on FM in Scotland, Colchester, Salisbury Plain, Aldershot, Catterick, Brize Norton, Lisburn, Holywood, Aldergrove and Blandford Forum in the UK and on all overseas stations. 

On Sky Channel 0211/Freesat 786.

Cover image: PA.