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Feb 1, 2012 | 18:48 GMT

Putin's Clans Before the Kremlin Political Crisis

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(Stratfor)

Russia's political landscape is shifting, and the redifinition is rippling through groups both inside and outside the Kremlin. Over the past decade, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin designed a complex grouping of powerful people divided into two main clans: the civiliki and the siloviki. The civiliki are more liberal-minded economic and social strategists, while the siloviki are mostly security hawks and former KGB officials. Putin understood that both sets of minds were needed to consolidate and strengthen Russia in the short term while planning for a more modern Russian economy and society in the future. But due to several social, political and economic shifts in the country, as well as personality conflicts both between and inside the two clans, Putin’s system has broken apart and left Kremlin policymaking in shambles. Many of Putin's loyalists have either left their posts (such as former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin) or been sacked (such as former State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov), reshuffled (such as former NATO Ambassador Dmitri Rogozin) or demoted (such as former Deputy Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov). This has left Putin without the strong and focused group needed to combat outside political instability involving the rise of anti-Kremlin groups. Putin will be able to sort through the crises inside the Kremlin and among his loyalists. However, the longer it takes Putin to establish a new system inside the Kremlin, the weaker he will look and the longer it will take for Moscow to focus on other pressing matters.

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