[T]his study should be regarded as a first step towards a strategic discussion on the topic. . . . Even though the main focus is on domestic politics, Pirchner offers interesting considerations of the potential foreign policy ramifications of a power transfer in Russia.
From the Eurasia Daily Monitor: 'Pirchner’s book... is really about the Russian political system as a whole and recalls in its approach the works of Nathan Leites like The Operational Code of the Politburo, which helped to define how an entire generation of Western Sovietologists understood and approached the issue of relations with the leadership of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) during the last four generations of its existence. Pirchner’s book is set to play a similar role for the last years of the Putin era and the first years after his departure from power.... Pirchner concludes by reiterating that “it is not possible to know when or how Russia’s leadership will change. Nor is it possible to know what their policies will be or how competently these policies will be executed. However, at some point, and perhaps with little notice, the United States will have to decide how to engage a new Russian leadership.” The American foreign policy expert expresses the hope his new study “can provide an ongoing context by which government analysts can formulate appropriate responses to such possible changes.” Both his overarching arguments and the details he provides about the Russian political system justify that hope.'