Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Once Putin Leaves, FSB Commands in Regions and Republics will Act as Communist Apparatuses Did in Union Republics in 1991, Khmelnitsky Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 2 – As long as Putin is in power in the Kremlin, FSB representatives in the federal subjects of the Russian Federation will act a Moscow’s agents to control the situation; but once he goes, these same FSB officers are likely to act increasingly on their own and even promote secession to boost their own power, Dmitry Khmelnitsky says.

            They will thus act in the same way the communist leadership did in the union republics of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the new independent states after that time. Some of these FSB regional leaders will take power, others will be pushed aside and still others will remain important players, the Russian commentator says ( Блог ХМЕЛЬНИЦКОГО).

            In the course of preparing his new book, The Architecture of State Security, Khmelnitsky says, he “uncovered a curious thing: over the last 15 years, in many regions of Russia were constructed new buildings to serve as regional headquarters of the FSB. When you look at their photographs, you see the visible system of the real administration of the country.”

            “All the local organs of power are formally independent, but the FSB is a structure subordinate to Moscow and it is precisely the FSB which controls everything that takes place in the regions. For the time being.” But when Putin passes from the scene, he argues, “the situation will radically change.”

            According to Khmelnitsky, “Moscow’s power over the regions rests on the very same thing that the power of Moscow over ‘the socialist camp’ and the Soviet republics, on the army and the special services. It collapsed at that moment when Gorbachev in the Kremlin refused to use this power.”

            In the power vacuum after Putin’s exit, it is highly unlikely that any one individual will be able to take power, beat off all competitors, and reintroduce democracy. Far more likely, “an internecine war among the leaders of law enforcement agencies will break out” in Moscow, and the regions will then react.

            That is because, Khmelnitsky says, “any unrest in Moscow cuts off the possibility of central control over the regions.” And in such a situation, “the FSB and all the structures of regional power will remain for some time left to their own devices.” Just as in 1991, not all of them will continue to obey; and also just as in 1991, the FSB in place of the party will act.

            Across what is now the Russian Federation, “local parliaments will meet one fine day and declare their independence, in full accordance with the laws of the country or without reference to those laws, exactly as happened in the case of ‘the socialist camp’ and then the Soviet Union 35 years ago.

            “Several new huge independent states – some larger than all of Europe combined – will be formed. They will be quite viable economically and not have to obey the bandits in the Kremlin. And they will be completely safe from threats from the outside world, even having the chance to escape from sanctions and start life from scratch.”

            According to Khmelnitsky, “local branches of the FSB and the local military authorities are likely to support such a develop given that their role in the new states will remain the same.” Of course, “it is unlikely in this circumstance that all the new countries will automatically become democracies but everyone will have the chance.

            By his destruction of institutions other than the FSB and the army, Putin has made this outcome more rather than less likely; and the longer he pursues his personalist approach, the more likely it is that Russia will in fact disintegrate, the Russian commentator says.

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