According to Solovey, Russian officials at present “live according to their instincts. If we speak about influence groups, everything in Russia now is arranged so that one need not do anything. One simply strengthens one’s position, and all challenges, risks and threats tend to dissipate.”
“Before 2014,” he says, “politicians were followers of a different strategy. The entire world lay at their feet. They started from the notion that the increase in the price of oil would be eternal and that their resources would grow in an infinite way, allowing them to become part of the global elite, of those who run the world.”
And from that perspective, they viewed Putin and the siloviki as a force that could “destroy all obstacles so that they could achieve this goal for themselves. What happened in 2014, even for Putin’s closest friends, was a catastrophic unexpected development. They are trying to adapt, [but] their instincts in general aren’t changing.”
As a result, the changes in their environment in the coming months and years are going to be even harder for them to cope with. Adaption for many won’t be an option. And it is entirely possible that some of them will begin to recognize that.