Staunton, July 27 – With each passing week, there is a new scandal involving one or another of the siloviki agencies, political analyst Abbas Gallyamov says; and such crimes and even more their exposure highlight growing divisions within this group of people on whom the Putin regime has relied upon for two decades.
Such scandals are occurring and having such disintegrative consequences, he says, because both economic activity and political involvement by the siloviki have the effect of undermining the harsh vertical of command on which entities like the army and the police rely (realtribune.ru/news/authority/2333).
That is why when the military or the police does not power, its commanders say they are doing so only temporarily and pledge to hand back the reins of government to the population and the politicians as soon as possible lest their own involvement in such economic and political life destroy their own institutions.
As Gallyamov points out, “one of the three main types of authoritarian regimes” is the military regime. Its “most important characteristic is its temporary character. Having seized power, the junta typically declares that it is doing so only temporarily, to put things in order and then will return power to the civilians.” Usually, such regimes keep this promise.
After the military or the police take power, their ranks are riven by divisions of a kind that subvert the discipline such institutions require; and the most intelligent and thoughtful of their commanders recognize that if they hold on to power too long, they will discover that the institutions they used to achieve it will begin to dissolve.
The military and police have not seized power in Russia, but they have become intertwined with the powers that be and with the economy in ways that have the same effect on their institutional arrangements. The scandals are a sign of this; their exposure reflects an effort of the state to disentangle them.
But whether that is possible very much remains to be seen. What no one has too wait for, Gallyamov says, is evidence that the siloviki institutions are more divided and thus less effective now precisely because they have become embroiled in political life in the Russian Federation. There are likely some in these hierarchies who understand the problem.
The question of the day is whether they have figured out any way to escape its implications.