If Putin vanishes into the thin air tomorrow, the world most probably is bound to become a more dangerous place. This comes from the fact that Putin is more centrist and “liberal” than the Russian mainstream. You can clearly see that in the mass of Russian postings here on Quora dripping with anti-Western indignation and moral outrage.
Also, consider the following:
Putin as a ruler has been consistently very calculating and rational. He’s easy to understand and interpret for anyone who’s not blinded by political blinkers. This makes spikes of hybrid confrontation between Russia and the West less prone to miscalculation.
Putin has a firm control over Russia. In a pinch, the West has someone in Moscow with whom to strike deals, and who can deliver.
Putin eliminated the Communists and radical nationalists as viable challengers to our oligarchical, market-oriented, globally-minded elite.
Despite very dim prospects of the New Yalta deal right now, the ultimate objective of Putin remains unchanged: making the Russian oligarchy a fully accepted, equal part of the global elite.
Putin’s policies have cumulatively brought to the West at least 1 trillion USD in accumulated investment, and possibly as much in increased consumer spending by wealthy Russians. A change of scene in the Kremlin will most probably disrupt this flow.
Unlike the rise of political Islam, Putin does not represent an ideological threat to the West. Unlike the swelling economy of China, Putin’s Russia does not bring a shift in global economic power. As long as nuclear warheads aren’t flying, Russia is confined to playing the middle between the US and China.
In the image below, thieving liberals and treacherous oligarchs try to deceive President Putin about the real state of affairs in Russia.
This piece of art reflects the view of radical nationalists and Stalinists who find Putin’s silly magnanimity with these people outrageous. The anti-oligarchical resentment is simmering across the country amid a deepening inequality, economic stagnation and impoverished provinces. Loyalist media work hard to give this resentment a pronounced anti-Western edge.