Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Siloviki Corruption Means Putin Power Vertical Not as Firm as Kremlin Suggests, Kanyev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 16 – Competition, corruption and degradation among officers of Russia’s security services means that “the existing power vertical is not as firm as the Kremlin tries to present it,” Sergey Kanyev says.  “A single spark is all that will be needed to change the situation in a significant way and in the end to blow it up.”

            That development has been compounded, the longtime specialist on the Russian intelligence services continues by the fact that “the attitudes of Russians toward Putin is changing, and even yesterday’s ‘hurrah patriots’ have become less enthusiastic and begun to reflect” about the situation” (

            As a result, the entire situation is becoming more explosive because now as opposed to a few years ago, Kanyev says, Putin feels he has “nothing to lose” and therefore would give the order to the siloviki to fire on demonstrators. The question now is whether they would obey it or make their own calculations about the future.

            Those who are around the Kremlin leader, the 500 or so people who form “’the collective Putin’” will remain on his side to the end because they know that if Putin is overthrown, they will have no future either.  But beyond their ranks, the situation is changing and, in Kanyev’s view, changing fast.

            Despite this, the Dossier Center journalist continues, “the majority of GRU officers approve the aggressive foreign policy of the Kremlin” and are likely to continue to do so whatever their attitudes are toward their bosses and the corruption they see all around them.” Moreover, they are seldom asked to commit murder; that is contracted out.

            In many respects, he says, the Russian intelligence agencies continue to function as they did in Soviet times, seeking to compromise and recruit foreign visitors to Moscow; but increasingly their efforts in that regard are failing: Those found to be homosexuals don’t agree to cooperate but point out that in their countries such relationships are entirely legal.

            That means that the Russian intelligence services are not nearly as successful as they used to be. But another cause for failures is the massive corruption among the upper ranks of the GRU, the FSB and so on. The commanders are more concerned about making money than they are about carrying out their tasks, Kanyev says.

            And what must be especially disturbing to Putin who began his career in the KGB is that the intelligence agencies today leak like a sieve. Kanyev says he was warned by one officer who had been his source in the past that the organs were coming after the journalist. That officer then lost his job, but the more important fact is that he warned the journalist first.

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