To my mind, there are various circumstances that would cause Vladimir Putin to cease to be the president of the Russian Federation on before January 1, 2023. These range from the position of presidency to no longer exist by then to Putin having to step down due to poor health to him being forced to step down by parliament, the judiciary or through an armed coup of some sort. Then of course there is the probability of death between now and then, from natural causes or following some sort of attack on his life.

Coups are few and far between in powerful, developed countries such as Russia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_coups_and_coup_attempts_by_country#Russia). That gives us a near-zero prior probability. There are reports that suggest he has organised the security forces such that it would be very difficult to coordinate a military coup (https://www.vox.com/22961563/putin-russia-ukraine-coup-revolution-invasion). The same applies to a popular uprising (same source). This will also make it very unlikely that his life will be taken in an assassination attempt. While the probability is nonzero, I estimate it to be very low - let's say 1 per cent in a full year, and a fraction of that for the time between now and January 1.

To my mind, the biggest threat to his presidency is his health. The annual mortality rate of Russian men is reported to be 39.1/1000 for 65-69-year-olds and 54.1/1000 for 70-74-year-olds. Putin will turn 70 early October. There are quite a few reports out there that suggest he may suffer from either Parkinson's disease or thyroid cancer. That may be so but we have not seen any evidence. The 'uncontrollable shaking' and his attempts to hide that from view (e.g., https://youtu.be/Xg3HgN11nG0 and https://youtu.be/SGZTNW-U8bw, respectively) may well be indicative of something but I think a diagnosis cannot be stated from these images alone (e.g., https://www.dw.com/en/putin-and-parkinsons-what-experts-say-about-his-health/a-61597476). The same applies to reports of a 'bloated face'. True, he doesn't look too well but if completely honest, I wouldn't have stated that unless I had heard somebody saying that (https://www.dw.com/en/putin-and-parkinsons-what-experts-say-about-his-health/a-61597476). And yes, he must be under tremendous pressure due to the war (from his perspective) not going well which must have all sorts of fallout that may be threatening to him. So my 'posterior' estimate for a Putin death from natural causes is simply the mortality rate for 70-74-year-olds. He's not 70 yet and he'll be a youngster in the 70-74-years-old bin. Had there been no reports or signs of bad health, nor any assumed pressure then I would have taken the mortality rate for the 'younger' bin for the ~5 months between now and his birthday and the rate for the 'older' bin for the ~3 months between his 70th birthday and the closing time of the question.

What I am leaving out is the scenario in which bad health renders him unable to fulfil the duties of a Russian president and that he'll be 'nudged' to step down. I find this very difficult to assess; 'health' is something I have virtually no expertise in. What could happen? A stroke? A heart attack? It's suggested that in the US, the average probability of a stroke for 65-69-year-old men is 11.0%/10 years and 13/7%/10 years for men in the 70-74-year-old age bin (https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/patient-caregiver-education/brain-basics-preventing-stroke). That's only for strokes. Would that render him incapacitated? Again, let's up the odds a bit by taking the higher number, for reasons of assumed pressure/stress and for not knowing the probabilities of heart attack or any other condition that would incapacitate him.

Combining the probabilities gives us 1% probability of a coup/uprising, 5.23% probability of death from natural causes and an additional 1.3% for a stroke - all for a period of one year. Adjusting these for the partial year between now and January 1 gives us 3.41%, 0.89% and 0.65%, respectively. Let's assume these are all independent events (bad health and death probably aren't): that gives a probability of 4.96%.

(PS the uncertainties in any of above dwarf the decimal-point estimates, I know)

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dowser
made a comment:
Good summary. No real quibbles.

Do you pay (much) attention to the "consensus" forecast, or those who do not provide some rationale or URL? Thanks.
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janverkade
made a comment:

Thanks for those kind words, @dowser. No, I don't use the "consensus" forecast a lot. Maybe to verify that I'm not too far off from the wisdom of the crowd. I do look at other people's comments - if anything to identify any consideration I may not have taken into account myself. I usually filter out the forecasts that don't have any comments to them.

Mind, I'm only doing this for a few days now so the 'usually' should be taken with a grain of salt.

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dowser
made a comment:
I'm not superforecaster, but your ideas seem sound.

You might want to follow @Anneinak She has a long record and has spent way more effort than I have on GJO. One issue to consider (related to Brier) is "extremizing." I am mostly now in a dilletante mode, and don't model or do anything to minimize my Brier but some research supports certain strategies. The multi-part questions are not obvious related to scoring, but modeling might help. I'm too lazy.
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janverkade
made a comment:

In the past, I have attended conference presentations about hedging/optimising the Brier score. To be honest, I barely remember that that was the topic and certainly cannot recall how any such optimisation would need to be done. While I wasn't planning on actually doing so, I am curious about it. You wouldn't happen to have some additional details about those studies you referred to?

Advice to follow @Anneinak followed (no pun intended) - thanks, @dowser


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sevedb
made a comment:

@janverkade 

I liked reading your summary. I also try to follow only the forecaster that put a rationale on their forecasts.

I just wanted to add two things to your analysis for your consideration:

There have been so many fires/explosions to Russian ammunition depots and similar buildings that it is tough to consider them coincidences.

and 

The number of oligarchs dying of violent deaths is also remarkably high. Sometimes all families. Where would you put these events? The first one could be an internal boycott because the war is not all that popular after all. We don't know because of Russian propaganda, but when young kids are sent to die, and parents don't even get the body back, it makes you think.


For the oligarchs, once you see that your fellow "oligarch" was killed along with his own family in Barcellona.

Wouldn't you start to worry for your safety?

Today's mild speech by Putin leads us to believe that he may have realized that we can't win, and he may also be dealing with some instability at the Kremlin. 

I believe he was wearing a bulletproof vest under the coat today.

  1. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/27/series-of-blasts-hit-three-russian-provinces-bordering-ukraine


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dowser
made a comment:
Sorry but the study references I semi-remember are long buried in the platform. There is the thread related to advice which I do not read, but that might be a place to start and search. Other forecasting platforms might offer some insight and my impression is there are several books and (I am sure) papers.
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janverkade
made a comment:
@sevedb yes, that could possibly indicate that something is brewing, possibly upping the likelihood of a coup or an uprising. For the moment, I think he's firmly in control, though, so I'll stick with the combined near-zero probability of that. If and when indications are stronger, I may increase that.
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janverkade
made a comment:

@dowser no worries!

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Comment deleted on Mar 19, 2024 11:44PM UTC

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