A national ideology. Political indoctrination. Ramped up repression. Broader censorship. And more surveillance.
That's one vision for Russia's future we saw earlier this week in a controversial and widely discussed article in Kommersant Vlast by Investigative Committee head Aleksandr Bastrykin.
It's been called everything from a clear call for a restoration of the Soviet system to a manifesto for the North Koreanization of Russia.
Later in the week, we got another vision from former Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin, who accepted an offer to head the Kremlin's top economics think tank.
Kudrin called for a fundamental modernization and restructuring of Russia's economy, but added that such a restructuring would be contingent on establishing a more pluralistic and accountable political system.
It's not unusual for the Kremlin to send mixed signals. But what this week's contradictory messaging seems to suggest is that Vladimir Putin's regime has concluded that the status quo is unsustainable.
And if that is so, then what comes next?
On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we discuss the Putin system's shaky status quo.
Joining me are Donald Jensen, a former U.S. State Department official and currently a fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations in the Nitze School of International Studies at Johns Hopkins University; and Sean Guillory, of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies, author of Sean's Russia Blog, and host of the SRB Podcast.