Monday, November 16, 2020

Nepotism or What Russians Call ‘Dynastic Careerism’ on the Rise in Putin’s Moscow

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 14 – Children of senior officials or of those who are friends of Vladimir Putin are increasingly assuming top-level positions in the Russian government and economy, a development that reflects the aging of the Putin generation and its desire to pass on its power and wealth to its offspring.

            In most countries, this process would be called “nepotism” and denounced as such, but in Russia, it is more often referred to as “dynastic careerism” and is disliked but accepted by most Russians as just the way things are and will be in their country -- even though it means upper mobility for others and the revitalization of elites will be limited.

            This process attracted particular attention this week when Viktor Khmarin, 42, the son of a school-age friend of Vladimir Putin’s and the husband of the president’s cousin was named head of RusHydro after a meteoric rise through the ranks of elite universities and businesses ( and

            But Khmarin is hardly unique.  Among other children of prominent Russian officials who are now coming into their own are:

·         Denis Bortnikov, son of the FSB director, who is now vice president of VTB Bank.

·         The son of the deputy head of the presidential administration is the new president of Rostelkom.

·         Igor Lebedev (Zhirinovsky), son of the LDPR leader, has followed his father into politics and is now deputy chairman of the Duma.

·         The two sons of Dmtry Pastrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, have also done well: Dmitry and Andrey both have senior jobs in the energy sector of state monpolies.

·         The son of the head of Roskosmos also has a top business job.

·         The daughter of Senator Elena Mizulina is in the Social Chamber and serves as head of the government monitoring center tracking missing children. She also fights pornography on the internet as head of the League for Internet Security.

·         Sergey Ivanov, 40, the son of the former head of the Presidential Administration, is now head of the Russian diamond giant Alrosa.

·         The two sons of former prime minister Mikhail Fradkov have also done well. One is president of PromSvyaz Bank, and the other is deputy administrator of Putin’s office.

But observers say that the offspring who have done perhaps the best are two unacknowledged daughters of Vladimir Putin himself. Both have made careers based on government funding involving billions of rubles.   

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