Putin waiting out conflict between FSB and Kadyrov forces, Belkovsky says

Internet meme of Russian president Vladimir Putin riding a weasel on top of a woodpecker (Picture: Martin Le-May/@lewisbecs)

Internet meme of Russian president Vladimir Putin riding a weasel on top of a woodpecker (Picture: Martin Le-May/@lewisbecs) 


Article by: Nina Jobe

In his latest statement posted on Open Russia, Belkovsky argues that Putin is facing a conflict between different security forces.  Belkovsky divides these groups into the FSB (Federal Security Services) and Ramzan Kadyrov (the Putin appointed leader of Chechnya).

This is a conflict that has been going on since Putin came to power, Belkovsky claims.  This is a bit disingenuous as Kadyrov has not been in power in Chechnya for 15 years.  But his broader point is that much of Putin’s reputation as a strong leader has been built on his alleged success in subduing Chechnya.

On the other side of the conflict is the federal security structures (the siloviki).  There are quite a lot of people in this group, and they are quite influential.  Putin cannot betray this group because it would cost him his life, Belkovsky alleges.

Putin then is between a rock and a hard place.  He cannot dismiss Kadyrov because his reputation is at stake.  But he cannot side against the siloviki because they would overthrow him in a coup if he did.

Therefore, Putin is avoiding making a decision between the two clans, and this is the reason for his disappearance.  The President hopes that the situation will be resolved in the meantime.

Putin could stay in power indefinitely as long as he stays alive, Belkovsky continues.  But since nobody lives forever, at some point somebody must succeed him.  This person will be the “anti-Putin”.  He would have to reach some kind of deal with the West to save Russia’s economy and bring Russia back from the brink of war.

Belkovsky then again presents Prime Minister Medvedev as an this compromise figure.  Yes, Medvedev acts like a fool, but this could all be an act, and the Prime Minister might well surprise us all.

Belkovsky concludes by saying that Putin’s legacy will not be great.  There will be organized mourning and parades, but the transition of power will be relatively painless and no panic will ensue.  The reason for this is that despite popular opinion, the Russian system is not personality-based.  Rather it is more like a monarchy.  Because of this there is some “guarantee of stability”, and the office is more important than the figure in it.  And in due course, the Russian people will rapidly change their loyalty and love to a new leader.

I personally think Belkovsky is over-simplifying the situation here.  The siloviki is not exactly a monolithic group.  That being said, I think the Russian system can take some hits, and harder hits than many imagine.  Putin’s image of a strong leader has been very carefully crafted for his domestic audience, but it could be taken away very quickly.

A transition to a new face does not have to be overly painful.  Will there be some hiccups?  Most likely.  The clan system is very real, and there will be some jockeying for position and power behind the scenes.  But these should not impact day to day activity or the economy in any real sense.

So this is one way that the Kremlin could wriggle out of the situation it currently finds itself in.  Whether it will do so remains to be seen.

NOTE: In my opinion, Belkovsky does not speak with his own voice.  He is voicing the opinion of somebody in the elite who wishes to remain anonymous.  This is why his statements are important.

Source: Nina Jobe’s blog

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  • On the Balcony

    Reading between the lines, Kadyrow is going to be out of power with or without Putin. If true that’s good news for Ukraine since the significant number of Chechen fighters in Ukraine will suddenly find themselves much more needed at home –or switching sides in Ukraine.

    • Brent

      Kadyrov is the one given the most credit for ‘stabilizing’ Chechnya (if the rest of us can call it that). For Russia to depose him, and with the eventual return of any Muslims from the South Caucusus that are away fighting for ISIS, it would be hard for Russia to turn on him. You are right that those Chechens Kadyrov sent to Donbass (those that haven’t been used up as cannon fodder) will also have to decide their loyalty.

      However, I must admit if all of this is taking place, I am kind of happy to see that Russia may finally be turning in on itself instead of attacking its neighbors. Just like those in the LPR when Plotnisky had to take out Bednov….

  • DejaVu

    No. This article is incorrect. The reality is that currently the rumors say that Shoigu and Ivanov are currently in the same camp and as both being hard-liners will have Ivanov appointed as the prime minister to replace Medvedev and Shoigu likely being the president. Also Putin is not waiting this one out. Putin will likely be sent home for a long awaited rest and in turn these two hardliners supported by the FSB/FSO will likely continue and expand operations in Europe including a military campaign. Crimea will not be returned as it will mean losing face.

    I am not going to quote verbatim what other analysis and articles indicate but this is due to Nemtso’s murder and hardliners attempting to seize power from Putin. Either way even if Putin stay’s on World War III is inevitable.