Is modern Russia an ascending superpower or a country in decline?

World News Guest Ilya Ponomarev, Former deputy of the Russian State Duma and the Russian opposition activist. The only member of the Duma who voted against the annexation of Crimea, Ponomarev has been warning the Russians for a long time that the move would inevitably lead to a major war between Russia and Ukraine. Today he discussed Putin’s potential plans for Victory Day and the possibilities of political change after Putin’s reign.

Ponomarev talked about the differences between the celebrations of the end of World War II in Europe and Russia. “In European tradition, it’s the time when we should remember our dead, mourn and say ‘never again.’ In Russia, the attitude is ‘we can repeat that at any time!’ Which is horrible and awful,” he stated.

Asked about the possibility of general mobilisation, Ponomarev said it could theoretically happen, but he asserted that Putin knew it would be a very unpopular move. He also stressed that the reports about the situation at the frontline that Putin was getting were certainly distorted because people are afraid of telling him the truth.

When discussing the possibility of Russia’s political transformation, Ponomarev stated that nothing of the sort could happen under Putin, just like nothing could happen in the Third Reich before Hitler’s defeat.

According to Ponomarev, the next president could be in opposition to Putin. Unlikely a liberal – most likely a nationalist or leftist, but not an imperialist. Asked if the transformation would require an event comparable to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ponomarev stated: “the system is gone already because currently, the system is Vladimir Putin himself. He’s the boss, without him there is no power – there are no political institutions, no parliament, no government, no security forces, no army,” he said. “When he’s gone, that would need to be rebuilt anyway. The question is who would be given the mandate to do it and in which direction it would go.”