The Dual Structure and Mentality of Vladimir Putin´s Power Coalition: A Legacy for Medvedev

Authors:

  • Joris Van Bladel

Publish date: 2008-06-24

Report number: FOI-R--2519--SE

Pages: 113

Written in: English

Keywords:

  • Russia
  • democracy
  • authoritarian regime
  • siloviki
  • power coalition
  • mentality
  • domestic policy
  • foreign policy

Abstract

This report analyses the Russian outhoritarian regime that emerged under Vladimir Putin and attemps to give a wider context to the so-called FSB-ization of the Russian government. The first part of the report deals with Putin´s main achievements in domestic and foreign policy and examines the extent to which state policy has fulfilled the asiration of the Russian public. The much-needed stability and security that Putin has brought to the country seem to outweigh the fact that the government has veered towards authoritarianism. The degree to which Russian society has truly been taken over by the FSB is critically examined and this process of FSB-ization is explained in a wider social and historical context. The second paart aims to bring some insight into the current political dynamic by examining the power relations in the coalition and the mentalities typical of the major factions: the "siloviki" and the liberal. In particular, the "siloviki" are critically examined with regard to their history, their typical modes of thinking and their rise to influence. The very notion of "siloviki" is given a more precise explanation by showing why they have come to power, whom the term "siloviki" should actually be applied to, what their mode of thinking is like, and how influential they are likely to be in the future. The study then focused on the actual siloviki faction: its members, its role, and its influence. A similar presentation of the neglected yet influential liberal faction is given by way of comparison. The arrival of the new regime of Dmitri Medvedev and his entourage could mark a new era, making this a key moment to revisit the policies adopted by the EU towards Russia. The report concludes with likely scenarios for the future, and its makes recommendations for policy positions and other measures likely to lead to better relations with the Russian Federation.

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