Études de l'Ifri Russie.Eurasie.Reports
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin and Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika

Cercles dirigeants russes : infaillible loyauté au système Poutine ? Russie.NEI.Reports, No. 38, Ifri, July 2022

Despite the unprecedented sanctions against Russia following Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine on February 24, 2022, no important member of Russia's ruling circles has defected. 

The economic elites show the same loyalty. No one has even publicly criticized the decision, while many, according to leaks in the Russian press and various sources, privately consider it catastrophic for the country’s future. This silence is due to the authoritarian nature of the political system shaped by the Russian president. The power and resilience of the Putin system is especially linked to its kleptocratic nature and its "inclusive" character: various, sometimes competing circles are integrated into the system and thrive, as long as they contribute to its perpetuation. The power structures and some of Russia's senior officials play a key role in the functioning of this system, ensuring that each member follows the rules set by the president and serves a regime organized around the values of state power, patriotism, and traditionalism. However, the increasingly conservative course of Vladimir Putin's policies, now crystallizing in the war in Ukraine and the deepening confrontation with the West, is complicating relations within the ruling elites, beyond the traditional cleavage between conservatives and liberals.

Régis Genté is a journalist and specialist of the former Soviet space since 2002, based in Tbilisi (Georgia).


This paper is available in French: Cercles dirigeants russes : infaillible loyauté au système Poutine ?

Politics Vladimir Putin Russia