Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

General Discussion

Showing Original Post only (View all)


(44,586 posts)
Tue May 21, 2024, 10:38 AM May 21

Russia's battle of the ministries [View all]

Powerful groups seem increasingly willing to break the unspoken rule against public infighting. This does not bode well for Putin’s regime.


Cracks showing? A photo issued by the Russian presidency of Vladimir Putin meeting military district commanders last week

In Russia, if a public figure is being prosecuted or punished, two things used to be true: they opposed Vladimir Putin’s rule or his ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine and they were not a high-ranking official. The arrest last month of the deputy defence minister, Timur Ivanov, for allegedly accepting a bribe, ominously defied these rules of thumb. It also highlighted deepening tensions among powerful groups in Russia amid a lack of coherent leadership from the despot in charge. Make no mistake: Putin has no serious challengers.

When he ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 22nd 2022, even his own Security Council was surprised. Russia’s political and business elites were then forced to sacrifice many of their prewar privileges and start building a new Russia that corresponded to Putin’s vision of history and international relations. They had no choice. If the elites had no choice, ordinary Russians certainly did not. When they learned of the invasion, they poured into the streets to protest, only to be faced with a harsh crackdown. The protests mostly stopped and Russians resigned themselves to an unwanted war, a declining quality of life and worsening development prospects. Many began quietly relocating their businesses and moving their money to such places as Armenia or Kazakhstan.

No clear strategy

Putin has made plenty of pronouncements about his war goals, from achieving the ‘denazification’ and ‘demilitarisation’ of Ukraine to standing up to the west as it attacks ‘traditional values’ and violates the international laws that it enforces on others. According to Putin, Russia—together with emerging-economy partners such as China and Brazil—is leading the creation of a new, multipolar world order. What Putin has not offered is a clear strategy for achieving these goals. Nor has he provided Russians with any vision of how they should live, or how Russia should operate, within this new world order. With no shared roadmap to follow, many Russian actors are being forced to improvise, often in ways that conflict.

For example, as the Kremlin pushes ‘de-privatisation’, or the nationalisation of private firms deemed relevant to national security, Russia’s central-bank governor, Elvira Nabiullina, is fighting to limit state involvement in business wherever possible, to forestall the collapse of Russia’s fast-shrinking market economy. Conflicts are perhaps most apparent within the military establishment. Last year’s rebellion by the late Wagner Group leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is a case in point. Prigozhin did not want to take down Putin but he did want the head of the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu. And given the centrality of Wagner mercenaries to the Russian war effort, he was convinced he could get it. Instead, he and several other Wagner leaders perished when their airplane exploded in midair two months after the aborted coup.

Enormous fortune...................


Latest Discussions»General Discussion»Russia's battle of the mi...