This article analyses the nature of the current Russian system and its future trajectory. First, the continuity between the Yeltsin and Putin presidencies is made clear. The nature of the Russian system has, to a great extent, been influenced by Yeltsin, who strengthened demands not for independent institutions but for a new and more powerful authoritarian leadership. Putin has consolidated the system, based on personalized power. But despite signs of economic growth and outward stability there is evidence that the Russian system is unsustainable in the long-term.