Saturday, July 17, 2021

Patrushev at 70 – Putin’s ‘Spear Carrier,’ Rostovsky Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 11 – Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council since 2008, has become Vladimir Putin’s “spear carrier,” Moskovsky komsomolets commentator Mikhail Rostovsky says, the man without which the Kremlin leader finds himself in complete agreement and without whom it would be hard for the Kremlin to operate.

            “Without Patrushev,” Rostovsky continues, “one couldn’t get along,” not only because of his background as head of the FSB between 1999 and 2008, a position Putin appointed him to after others turned it down, but even more because of his role as Security Council secretary (

            The 13th and longest serving secretary, Patrushev has made it his own through hard work and the maintenance of polite relationships with all the key players, as well as solicitude for those who work for him, the commentator says. Indeed, in all things, Patrushev is best described as “a disciplined ascetic,” always on time and always at work.

            He appears largely indifferent to his own food and drink and other luxuries and doesn’t drink vodka. The most he permits himself is white wine. He swims several times a week to keep in shape and loves to play volleyball, something that for him is a genuine passion, Rostovsky continues.

            His parents suffered through the blockade of Leningrad, and World War II has left its mark on Patrushev just as it has become central in Putin’s thinking about Russia and the world. The Kremlin leader installed Patrushev as security council secretary when Medvedev replaced Putin as president so as to keep another line of control over events.

            The two men enjoy enormous personal trust, but that is not the most important thing, Rostovsky says. Instead, they share a common vision of the world and about Russia’s place in it. They “do not simply speak the same language; they understand one another” without either having to say very much or even anything at all.

            The two are convinced that their vision of the world and the policies they have adopted to advance Russia’s interests are completely correct and that history will judge them accordingly, Rostovsky says, adding “I hope they are right.”

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