The shadow behind the president
1 января 2004 в 00:00, просмотров: 875
Conspiracy theories are always in demand in Russia. The latest hit is the opposition of the Yeltsin “Family” and the St. Petersburg “Siloviki”, representatives of law and order agencies, was the precursor to the most serious political crisis in the whole of Vladimir Putin’s presidency. It seems it is the right time to ruminate on the potential, ambitions, and purposes of the President’s fellow townsmen.
To begin with: the siloviki on the Presidential Staff try hard to avoid publicity. Despite their growing influence, they keep to the shadows. Information on them is scarce and informed sources are tightlipped.
The group got its name for reasons beyond the professional background of most of its members in the law and order agencies, or siloviye agencies as they are in Russian. The siloviki like to use those agencies’ methods to achieve their aims. The attack on YUKOS, characterized by political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky as “an attack on democracy”, was a classic example of pressurizing political opponents. And there is nothing strange about it. The men in gray suits are unused to subtlety and public relations considerations, but masters of internal intrigues in Kremlin corridors; they prefer preventive measures and sophisticated moves to massed attacks. At close range the siloviki feel inhibited: they avoid negotiations and informal contacts with their opponents.
The public began paying attention to the siloviki this summer following reports by two famous Russian political scientists – Stanislav Belkovsky and Gleb Pavlovsky. The first cited the threat of oligarchic conspiracy against the lawful authorities, the other warned of a “creeping revolution” in the presidential staff, organized by the St. Petersburg siloviki. The arrest of YUKOS oil chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the resignation of presidential chief of staff Aleksandr Voloshin, and the possible further changes in the corridors of power have ended all discussions on the extent of the influence of the St. Petersburgers in the Kremlin. The changing of the guard has become the new reality.
Experts name Sergei Pugachev (former head of Mezhprombank, now senator for Tuva), Aleksei Miller (managing chairman, OAO Gazprom), and Sergei Bogdanchikov (president, Rosneft). While the latter two are mostly “simple businessmen” involved in politics, Pugachev is a businessman with ideas. He copies his image from the famous Russian Old Believer merchants of the early twentieth century, dissatisfied with commerce alone and looking to influence the fate of Russia.
However, Pugachev does not have an exclusive claim to be Kremlin treasurer. He is in tough competition with Vladimir Kogan, head of St. Petersburg’s Promstroibank (PSB). According to rumor, Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin, communications minister Leonid Reiman, and several other members of the St. Petersburg clan have their accounts at PSB.
The Tuvan senator did not overlook Gleb Pavlovsky’s performance and filed suit against him. The banker rated his slandered honor at $1 million. Although it remained unclear what exactly upset Pugachev in the report – the description of his political rules, or being assigned the role of the Kremlin’s wallet. For example, Roman Abramovich, wallet to the Family, never deigned to notice that kind of thing.
Pugachev and Abramovich have a lot in common – Lenin-like shyness, laconicity, restraint and a philosophical attitude to money. Both are said to be given to outbreaks of anonymous altruism, prefer quiet family surroundings and have many children.
The first attacks on the Abramovich-Berezovsky Family clan by Sergei Pugachev resulted in tactical losses, until he brought in the siloviki.
Ideological and information support of the group has been assigned to the political scientist mentioned above, general director of the National Strategy Council Stanislav Belkovsky. In his comments to the press he has already called Gleb Pavlovsky’s report the “latest mythologizing” in the interests of the oligarchy.
Belokovsky is amazingly omnivorous. As a political scientist he manages to work with diametrically opposed political forces – from the liberal Konstantin Borovoi to the Communist Party.
He is said to pick up a feel for the state of affairs immediately, being in that sense a classic modern spin-doctor. He compiles various theories, reacts to the zeitgeist, and takes on other people’s concepts, adapting them to the interests of his clients.
The current ideological platform of the siloviki is exactly that kind of symbiosis. The basis of this strange cocktail is state capitalism founded on orthodoxy and the primacy of patriotic values. Among the subclauses are all the hot themes of the day: royalties for natural resource use, restraint in relations with the United States, and, of course, putting the oligarchs in their place.
The siloviki are often referred to as the Ivanov-Sechin group, as it is difficult to clearly pick the leader in that tandem. On the one hand, his status should make it Viktor Ivanov, deputy chief of the presidential staff for personnel issues and simultaneously chairman of the board of the largest state defense company, Almaz-Antei. Igor Sechin is also a deputy, but without Ivanov’s air of importance. He is only head of the presidential secretarial department, however this position keeps him closer to the president than anyone else. According to rumor, he also influences the president on personnel matters. Putin also appreciates his loyalty, which has been proven over the years. One of Sechin’s undoubted pluses is his freedom from involvement in various financial affairs and corporate connections. But when it is necessary, he can lobby his interests as well as anyone. People in the know say Berezovsky was very disappointed Sechin chose someone else for his strategic partner.
Relations between the two wings of the administration, the Family old-timers and the St. Petersburg new boys, is a separate matter. Until recently the St. Petersburg group lost in competition with the family, but election syndrome has weakened their unity, and the all-out attack on YUKOS and resignation of chief of staff Aleksandr Voloshin have only increased the confusion. YUKOS people were apparently ready to make serious concessions and tried to negotiate directly with Viktor Ivanov. But the general was not interested in compromise.
Almaz-Antei is a separate page in Viktor Ivanov’s biography. In the period before it was set up he was in tough competition with the westernizing wing of the defense industry, in the person of deputy prime minister Ilya Klebanov. Ivanov did not allow the company to join the Defense Systems group, as Klebanov had wanted.
Among the agent apparatchiks, one cannot forget deputy Federal Security Service (FSB) director for economic security Yuri Zaostrovtsev. According to rumor, Zaostrovtsev coordinates the finances for the president’s upcoming election campaign and is the main link between the FSB and the Kremlin siloviki. He is said to be viewed as the most likely replacement for current FSB head Nikolai Patrushev or State Customs Committee head Mikhail Vanin.
That is the general outline of the group. Of course, it has its own internal contradictions, however they are generally united by their purpose.
According to some experts, the apparatchiki above are not yet ready to be eminence grises, they are more like typical service people, following the mentality of the secret services: do nothing without orders. It is a different matter if they have already been given carte-blanche.
To conclude, one can only add that it is likely the so-called St. Petersburg siloviki are guided in their actions by both national security concerns and their views of justice and the economic structure of the country. It is also possible that their ambitions have a clear nationalist streak. The problem is that tactical victories can often turn out to be strategic losses.
Born February 4, 1963 in Kostroma. In 1984, he graduated from Leningrad’s Zhdanov University. 1985-1990 he worked for Promstroibank USSR. 1990-1992, was founder and member of the board at Northern Trade Bank. In the early 1990s he met Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin.
1992 - December 2001 Sergei Pugachev was chairman of the board of OOO International Industrial Bank (Mezhprombank). Acquaintance with Pavel Borodin, then presidential chief administrator, became a pass to the Kremlin inner circle.
In December 1995, Sergei Pugachev ran for the State Duma on Segei Shakhrai’s Party of Russian Unity and Agreement list. The party did not get past the 5% barrier.
According to some information, in November-December 2001, Pugachev was active in the presidential elections in Yakutia, where Mezhprombank had a candidate – deputy prosecutor general Vasily Kolmogorov. The campaign was racked by scandal and Kolmogorov ended up dropping out.
December 26, 2001, Sergei Pugachev was approved as representative of the republic of Tuva in the RF Federation Council.
January 23, 2002, Sergei Pugachev officially resigned as chairman of the board of Mezhprombank and disposed of his shareholdings.
Born September 7, 1960. Graduated from Leningrad State University in Romance languages.
After graduating, worked as a military translator abroad. In 1998 joined the staff of Leningrad Soviet. Met Vladimir Putin on a visit of the St. Petersburg administration to Brazil in 1990. Friends with the future president since 1991. Putin, as deputy head of the St. Petersburg administration of Anatoly Sobchak, appointed Sechin his chief secretary, a position he held until 1996.
1996-1997 – deputy head, foreign property department, Foreign Economic Relations Department, Presidential Affairs Department.
1997-1998 – head of general department, Main Monitoring Department of the RF President.
1998 – chief of staff of first deputy presidential chief of staff.
1998-1999 – advisor to the deputy presidential chief of staff, head of Main Monitory Department (pro bono).
August 1999, Sechin was appointed first deputy head of the prime ministers secretarial department.
December 31, 1999 – deputy presidential chief of staff. Head of the president’s office.
Speaks Portuguese, French, and Spanish.
Born May 12, 1950 to a military family. Graduated Leningrad Bonch-Bruyevich Electrical Technical University. In 1971 became an engineer at NPO Vektor. In 1977 joined the KGB, 1987-1988 served in Afghanistan. Then continued in the KGB department for Leningrad and region, where he rose to become head of the anti-contraband department.
In 1994 he retired from service at the rank of Colonel. In 1994-1996 he was appointed by Putin to head the administrative departments of St. Petersburg City Hall. 1996-1998 was head of Russian-American joint venture ZAO Teleplus, a satellite TV company broadcasting 30 channels, including CNN and Euronews.
In 1998 he was transferred to the FSB Central Staff, where he headed the Internal Affairs Department. In April 1999 he was appointed head of the Economic Security Department and deputy director of the FSB.
January 5, 2000, he became deputy presidential chief of staff. Handles personnel matters and the Main Department for CIS Affairs. Ivanov knows Putin from their service in the Leningrad Department of the KGB and from their work at St. Petersburg City Hall. The president is said to value Ivanov’s tolerance, patience and informedness.
In 2002 he was elected chairman of the board of directors at PVO Concern Almaz-Antei, which produces the S-300 surface-to-air missile system. The company was set up by presidential decree and formed from 46 state enterprises and companies.
Viktor Ivanov has been awarded the “For Service in Combat” medal. He is married and has a son and a daughter.
Born in Moscow in 1956. Son of a KGB officer, graduated Leningrad KGB school. In 1993 resigned from the FSB economic counterintelligence service, where he oversaw the State Customs Committee. Then became deputy managing chairman of Tveruniversalbank, where he was head of security. In 1996 moved into the management of Madox, regarded as a part of the Siberian Aluminum group. 1993-1998 founded a number of security agencies. July 1998 – joined the presidential administration as assistant to Nikolai Partrushev, then head of the Main Monitoring Department. November 1998 Yuri Zaostrovtsev returned to the economic counterintelligence service and soon became first deputy director of the FSB.
Preparatory work for founding the air defense company began in 2000. The project was intended to concentrate the financial and technological resources of companies developing and producing air defense and missile defense systems. At that time there were three main players: Antei (developer and manufacturer of the long range S-300 SAM system and the close-range Top), Scientific-Production Association Almaz (developer of the S-300P and S-400 systems) and private financial and industrial group Defense Systems (founded by several enterprises producing S-300P systems).
Almaz-Antei was formed in April 2002 as part of the program of centralizing the defense industry. The program was developed under the control of the Ministry for Science and Industry and deputy prime minister Ilya Klebanov and proposed integrating the entire defense industry into 40 holdings. Klebanov was for the integration of the company into Defense Systems.
Antei and Almaz were absolutely against such plans. They joined together to combat Defense Systems, and declared that it was necessary to set up an independent holding, Almaz-Antei. Finally, in August 2001, President Vladimir Putin ordered FSB General Viktor Ivanov, deputy chief of staff for personnel, to work on forming the air defense company.
In April 2002, the president finally signed a decree drawn up by Viktor Ivanov on the creation of air defense company Almaz-Antei. It joined 46 enterprises, all fundamental developers and manufacturers of air defense and missile defense systems. Defense Systems was left with nothing: even enterprises of which Defense Systems was a co-founder were handed to Almaz-Antei. Viktor Ivanov became chairman of the board of the company, and Antei head Yuri Svirin was elected general director. Even then it was clear that 65-year old Svirin was a temporary figure as head of the country’s largest defense company. Especially as his deputy for orders and deliveries was Viktor Ivanov’s assistant Igor Klimov. There was an impression that Ivanov simply gave his appointee time to get to grips with the problems of the company and prepare for the role of general director.
In February 2003, Yuri Svirin resigned due to ill health and Igor Klimov was appointed acting general director.
By May 2003 the company was essentially established, in record time for the Russian defense industry, the state enterprises in Almaz-Antei were converted into joint-stock companies and a controlling stake was handed to the head structure. However, in May 2003, Igor Klimov was killed in Moscow. There are two main theories on the killing. The first saw an influential group competing with the St. Petersburg group as the client. The second, some contacts of Klimov himself.