The Economist is spot on with this characterization of the political situation in Vladimir Putin's Russia right now:
A problem with Russian politics is that so much of it happens in one man’s head. A turn towards repression may not be a sign of Mr Putin’s strength, but rather of his fear and desperation. Some advisers say he is worried about instability and is doing as much as he can to eliminate anything or anyone that contributes to it. This also affects his economic decisions. “He resists spending money or conducting economic reforms because they will yield short-term instability,” says one analyst. The result is falling investment and slower growth.
The Economist's conclusion is not surprising:
“Contradictions and injustices within the society are growing and instead of trying to resolve them peacefully, the Kremlin uses force, which makes a peaceful transition of power unlikely,” says one businessman. The trouble may be a long way off or it may come soon—Russia’s history shows that it is not possible to predict. But those who greeted Mr Putin’s return to the Kremlin with the mournful conclusion that they would be stuck with him until 2024 may have got it wrong.
The longer dictator Putin manages to stay on, the less peaceful will his departure be.