This week in Russia, a report was published about the middle circle of Vladimir Putin — the people who, according to the authors, influence the decision-making in the Kremlin. The report “Politburo 2.0 and antiestablishment wave” prepared and presented by the company “Minchenko consulting” — it is based on data obtained by the authors from own sources in the power structures and influential circles.
First report on the inner circle of Putin, “Minchenko consulting” introduced in 2012. the Previous edition came out in 2017. the new version, the authors note the occurrence in the number of full members of the Politburo 2.0 increased markedly Secretary of Security Council Nikolay Patrushev and the return of businessman Gennady Timchenko, the preservation and strengthening of positions of Igor Sechin and Arkady Rotenberg, the transition to the status of a candidate member of the Politburo 2.0 Vyacheslav Volodin, and also reducing the number of candidate members of the Politburo 2.0, primarily due to a decline in the influence of representatives of large private businesses. Among members of the closest circle of the President in addition to Sechin, Rotenberg, Timchenko and Patrushev — Dmitry Medvedev, Sergei Shoigu, Yury Kovalchuk, Sergey Chemezov, Sergei Sobyanin.
Of the main thesis of the report, RFI said one of its authors, head of the analytical Department of “Minchenko consulting” Kyrylo Petrov.
Kirill Petrov: since the last report, there have been some important changes in the structure of the Russian political elite that we note in a new report. We note the sharp decline in the influence of representatives of large private businesses, and for the most part they lost the status of candidate members of the Politburo 2.0, down to the level of representatives of the Central Committee. Second: the composition of full members of the Politburo came back Gennady Timchenko, whose Arctic project is gaining momentum. In General, he has found his niche, because in the last report he was in the status of a candidate member of the Politburo. In addition, also has been elevated the status of the head of the security Council, because at present the security Council increasingly has an impact on the industry regulation, the economic — due to its position as the main body for securitization. And the agenda of securitization is still in the top of the standoff between Russia and the West, which is becoming more and more routine.
What has caused the weakening of business in the Kremlin?
The external situation to adversely affect private business. To him there is distrust, because it is easier to push. What we see, for example, in the case of Mr. Vekselberg and Mr. Derepaski. From the point of view of members in the Politburo 2.0, as we believe they are vulnerable. This leads to a chain reaction of increasing permanent state presence in the economy not only in regulation but also in possession of the assets. That is, in fact, all the big businessmen become the operators of large public projects under supervision. This note not only we, we refer to the FAS report, which was not so long ago, in the spring, where the share of the economy, which somehow is controlled by the government, is estimated to 70%.
And in dynamics during the recent years growth looks like?
If you compare 20 years, that’s 2.5 times.
If to speak simply, we again observe the strengthening of the position of the security forces — in the sense of strengthening the role of Patrushev?
This conclusion can also be made — that all the same power structures are the key in comparison with other functions of government. Second, it is through the security Council now is actually communication, including with Western partners. He is the coordinating element as external political activity and domestic economic in a number of areas, because they are strategic, and, accordingly, he is involved in sectoral regulation. Well, in the Politburo, of course, an important factor of personality, and it is clear that the personal confidence of the President to the head of the security Council at the moment is on the rise.
Why Valentina Matvienko, Vyacheslav Volodin, formally the third and fourth numbers in the state hierarchy, was not included in the Politburo 2.0?
Vyacheslav Volodin has received the status of candidate member of the Politburo. At the moment, by 2019, after all the resources had been mandated in the state Duma, is not enough to truly influence decision making. As for the upper house of Parliament, it has always been even more decorative and after it has ceased to meet the governors. The model on which we work shows that formal positions are not as important as personality.
Can you talk about any apparent conflicts, contradictions, competition within the Politburo?
At the moment, some struggles there, because in many ways, the idea is to give them a different, possibly disjoint functionality. In principle, conflicts are very much not welcome inside the structures. Therefore, conflicts are mainly in the line of the Politburo — the government or the Politburo — Vice-Premier. That is, within the Politburo conflicts try very hard to avoid, because this behavior, which leads to a weakening of the entire system from the point of view of the Supreme arbitrator, the President. Therefore, it is not encouraged. Competition, probably, is encouraged only among law enforcement agencies.
Part of the report is devoted to the struggle for resources. How you can briefly Express the main idea about this?
Resources members of the Politburo will grow at the expense of reducing the resources of the weaker and younger players, for example, has the status of candidate members of the Politburo 2.0 or members of the Central Committee. That is, their ability of independent behavior greatly reduced, they either will have to enter the sphere of influence of one of the members of the Politburo, or even severely weaken, or be absorbed in an unfriendly way. This long-standing trend.
Of the nine members of the Politburo who is closer to the President? How the hierarchy is built?
I think the more correct answer is this — how long have they been acquainted with the President as he personally trusts. But the situation may change. I think that still continues to be at the top of the Lord Chemezov, Sechin, Kovalchuk — like. I think that the credibility of Mr. Medvedev is also very large, which is why it maintains its status as a member of the Politburo 2.0.
How to change vulnerable pain points of internal and external policy of the Russian government, and methods of solving problems in 2017?
Hasn’t changed much, all the trends unfold in roughly the same direction. Just the challenges that are put just before the political administration in the first place, the regional policy instruments that can control the risks that are there, very dull. Will be some reorganization of political representation. And it’s such a challenge, one including the members of the Politburo, they realize it or not.
Report on the immediate circle of the Russian President, as usual, attracted the interest of scientists. But not all of them fully agree with his thesis.
Ivan Preobrazhensky, a political scientist: “I, frankly, surprising did not see it. Indeed, for the most part items can agree with him, there is a strengthening of the so-called military component in Russian foreign policy, because foreign policy as such ceased after the Crimea to exist as a separate entity and became a part and continuation of the political fights and squabbles. Certainly makes sense, as is done in the study, separately and powerfully to appreciate, call it conditionally, the power part of Russian politics — one way or another related to energy, oil industry and so on. Because it still remains the main financial instrument in Russia, more precisely, a tool to get money.
Perhaps the one item that I did not like and was surprised by is complete exclusion from the decision-making system of the so-called big business. In 2017 he was present as active actors, and this time he is not there. It explains, in my view, somewhat simplified and demonstrating that assessment of the situation largely comes from the conditional security forces. I’m not sure that, first, the really big business was entirely excluded from the decision-making system. Secondly, the big business, who was present in the decision-making system, the so-called oligarchic business from the 90’s or grew up later, I don’t really understand how it differs from Timchenko, Rotenberg, Kovalchuk, which formally are also quite a private business.”
Information about who influences the decisions taken by Putin, can be very useful, said the analyst Abbas Gallyamov.
Abbas Gallyamov: I generally work Minchenko approve, it is very important in connection with the concept of closeness and lack of transparency of decision-making mechanisms in the country. Everything rests on personal relationships, as everywhere in the East. Clans, tribal relations rather than institutions. The work of anyone who tries to shed light on the real mechanisms that actual actors, in General, is to be applauded. Minchenko this work makes a long, good, and overall I find it very interesting, as the overwhelming majority of my colleagues know, everybody is talking. Methodologically, what I don’t really agree that the name itself “Politburo” introduces a specific audience astray. In the sense that it is built from a parallel with the Soviet Politburo. But there is a fundamental difference: the Politburo was institutionalised about who he is, you shouldn’t have to guess. The mechanisms of the relationship between them was really opaque, but, at least, the range of actors were identified. In the situation with Putin’s Politburo, it’s much worse. Even included some people in the inner circle, or not included, we can only judge by some circumstantial evidence, to guess.
What did you find interesting in the new report?
For example, for me it is important to Minchenko that Timchenko was back in the very inner circle, because the information that he fell into disgrace, indeed a couple of years ago rather widely separated, and, in General, was made a little to write him off. I’m not sure Minchenko right when he says, for example, about Volodin, his influence declined. It really decreased the impact on the political processes in the broadest sense, but for example, I see its expansion in the sphere of foreign policy.
But all these nuances are really important? These people, in your understanding, have a significant impact on Putin’s decision?
Of course. King makes retinue. Not to say that Putin is authoritarian, but even the most authoritarian ruler still makes decisions, discussing with someone. From someone it takes the information from someone does not accept, and so on. And since the institutions that affect decision-making in the country, but there is only personnel… Accordingly, if we are interested in how decisions are produced, who on their making an impact, expect their interests… for Example, the price of oil — interesting or not? In the domestic market. Sechin is lobbying for one option of state policy in this field, and Timchenko, another. In the end it will lead to the fact that gasoline will be either more expensive or cheaper. This is interesting to us or not? Solutions in the field of oil and gas depends on five or seven people, their names in this report are listed. And so the balance of power between them and the understanding of the logic of their actions can lead to the fact that people, in principle, can predict the direction in which government policy in the energy sphere will be developed.
What else important can you point out in the report?
It is very important that this report clearly indicated the threat that exists for the entire system, Minchenko calls it gracefully “antiestablishment wave”. Be called the protest sentiment. But in any case clearly marked: guys, you and your Politburo can shift, solitaire your much as anything, but at some point you external power sweep.