Putin Grooms a New Generation of Leaders

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Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, Sept. 12-18, 2016. Photographer: Jeremy Liebman for Bloomberg Businessweek

 

The Russian president is removing old allies and replacing them with young loyalists, likely ensuring his leadership will continue until 2024.

After 16 years in charge, Vladimir Putin is shaking up his team to cement his control into the next decade. The 63-year-old leader is pushing aside some longtime allies and grooming young lieutenants—many of whom share his background in the security services and aren’t old enough to have worked under any other leader—to form a new generation of Kremlin leadership. One of them could even become his successor one day. Continue reading

Putin Builds North Korea Rail to Circumvent Suez Canal

Russia last month completed the first land link that North Korea’s Stalinist regime has allowed to the outside world since 2003. Running between Khasan in Russia’s southeastern corner and North Korea’s rebuilt port of Rajin, the 54-kilometer rail link is part of a project President Putin is pushing that would reunite the railway systems of the two Koreas and tie them to the Trans-Siberian Railway.

That would give Putin partial control over links to European train networks 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) away. The route is as much as three times faster than shipping via Egypt’s Suez Canal, which handles 17,000 ships a year, accounts for about 8 percent of maritime trade — and is increasingly beset by pirates and political instability in Egypt and Syria. Continue reading