Friday, August 9, 2019

Some Siloviki Say They Want Even More Tougher Line, Sparking Debate about What That Means

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 6 – An NTV report that a certain “initiative group of employees of the law enforcement organs and special services” says it will go after the wives and children of the opposition if anyone in the opposition goes after theirs as one blogger threatened ( has sparked a debate in Moscow about what if anything this means.

            One commentator, Viktor Shendereovich, suggests that this declaration in and of itself constitutes “a coup” against the Putin regime (, but another, Igor Yakovenko dismisses that ( If the declaration isn’t a fake, he says, the question still arises: a coup by whom against whom?

            But others take the declaration more seriously. Moscow blogger Dmitry Bykov also speaks of a potential “junta” ( and Crimean blogger Aleksandr Gorny suggests that the declaration is part of what he calls “a hybrid coup” (

            Still a third group, like Andrey Ivanov of Svobodnaya pressa, take an intermediate position, arguing that the declaration only highlights the kind of divisions within the powers that be one might expect with some favoring a more repressive approach to the demonstrators and others a more conciliatory one (

            In a Facebook comment on this discussion, Aleksandr Morozov says much remains unclear but that there are now four distinct sets of explanations on offer. First, some see the declaration as part of the transit issue, an effort to push Putin in one direction or another in advance of 2024 (

            A second set of writers argues that “this ‘revolt of the siloviki’’ is simply a form of appeal to the tsar,” an indication that there is support among the siloviki for a much tougher line against the demonstrators.  A third one says that this action is a protest against the arrests of high-level FSB officers in recent years by suggesting they are needed to keep the current powers in office.

            And a fourth group “considers that ‘the revolt of the siloviki’ has appeared exclusively because of the weakening of ‘the political bloc’ around Putin.” According to those who hold this view, “the economic bloc of the government has completely lost control over the situation” and the regime needs to rely more heavily on force to restore order.

            “When this ‘revolt of the siloviki’ will end,” Morozov says, “no one can predict.” At present, no one can even say whether it is real or the product of the overheated Moscow environment in which only the most radical and dramatic statements can attract attention to their authors. 

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