Quite many Western analysts and media consumers believe that today’s regime in Russia stands and falls with Vladimir Putin. This perception is not correct, there will not be a change of regime after he has left the arena. This is a KGB/FSB regime, and Putin is only one of many players.
In the 1990s KGB/FSB had several attempts of taking over control in Russia. First in August 1991, when head of KGB Kryuchkov and his communist hardliner allies tried to overthrow Gorbachev in a highly unsuccessful coup d’état. The next time was before the 1996 presidential elections, when KGB/FSB was overrun by the oligarchs, who controlled the media and decided to support Yeltsin.
But finally, in 1999, Yeltsin and his “family” – headed by Boris Berezovsky – decided to secure a future immunity by installing an FSB successor. The list consisted of three candidates, all of them KGB/FSB: Sergey Stepashin, Evgeny Primakov and the unknown runner-up Vladimir Putin.
KGB/FSB thirsted for revenge, and when Berezovsky, who at that point made all important decisions on behalf of the “Family”, picked out Putin as his candidate (probably his biggest mistake in his life, except for taking a shower with a scarf around his neck), the KGB/FSB organizers in the background decided to throw in all resources to seize power. The strategy they chose was to start the Second Chechen war. By organizing a row of devastating “terrorist” attacks in Moscow, Buynaksk and Volgodonsk, Moscow started a brutal and devastating war in Chechnya, which killed between 25,000 and 50,000 Chechen civilians.
Since the end of the 1980’s, the KGB/FSB has cooperated with organized crime, and this cooperation has given the chekists valid competence in how to take over businesses (although the proficiency in running the same businesses is not at the same level). A few years after the takeover, all major companies and businesses were under the control of Kremlin.
An important part of the takeover strategy has been to give the other silovikis (leaders in the military forces and Ministry of Interior) a good slice of the pie. This reduces the possibility of heavy conflicts between the different power structures, since everyone is a part of the big kleptocracy project.
Having acquired such immense wealth and power, the ruling class will use all means to defend their positions. All signs of uprising and rebellion must be crushed at an early stage. If the discontent in some parts of the population should grow too strong, the Russian elite will not hesitate to use violence to keep the masses under control: dispersing crowds by simply shooting them down, mass arrests, reestablishing nightly arrests and prison camps in Siberia – no means are too cruel for these people.
After all, the KGB/FSB is nothing more than a organization with a very violent history, responsible of killing millions of people. But unlike the security police in other former dictator states, like Gestapo, Stasi and Securitate, KGB/FSB was never prohibited and disbanded – like it should have been in 1991 – it just was business as usual with only some small cosmetic changes. And now the Russian society is reaping the harvest of that huge historical mistake. And the blood will flow – again.
As long as this violent and corrupted regime will stay in power, Russia has no perspectives.