Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Putin Nepotism Different and More Dangerous than Earlier Russian Varieties, Illarionov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 23 – The appointment of the son of one senior official to be a full minister in the government as happened in Moscow last week is unprecedented in Russian history: Nothing quite like that has ever happened before, Andrei Illarionov says; and its consequences are likely to be both fateful and far reaching.

            Of course, the Russian commentator says, nepotism is far from unknown in Russian history. Many times senior people have arranged jobs for their children or other relatives, but never have they dared to put the child of one senior official in as a government minister (

                And there have been cases when the offspring of senior officials have later risen to positions of power on their own without the intervention of their parents. Such events are often referred to as nepotism, but they really are not, Illarionov says. 

            Many view what Putin is doing as a continuation of what Leonid Brezhnev did when he was head of the USSR.  He named his son deputy and then first deputy foreign trade minister and his son in law deputy and first deputy interior minister.  But he did not in those cases or others put these children into the top jobs.

            What Putin has done beginning in 2007 is in fact different. It has lasted longer and it has involved his willingness to see the offspring of senior officials become ministers as in the current case of Patrushev’s son becoming minister of agriculture. This crossing of a Rubicon has enormous significance, Illarionov says.

                It “means the transition of the current Russian political regime into a qualitatively different level of dynastic politics … [and points to] the preparation of a process of the transfer of state power to the next generation.” And it invites comparison with “the multi-generational dynastic politics of leaders of the regimes of certain neighboring countries.” 

            Among these are both successful cases – North Korea, Syria, Azerbaijan and Chechnya – unsuccessful ones – Ukraine – and some that are still in the process of preparation – Belarus. 

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