Republic: Friends in the New Term: What Awaits Putin’s Associates after 2018?

Putin’s third term didn’t end well for everyone and his fourth doesn’t promise to be any simpler: the rules of the game are gradually changing and competition for resources among the elites is growing. Tatyana Stanovaya of the Center of Political Technologies outlines five rules of survival for the state oligarchs.
Rule #1: Thou shalt not steal. Putin’s reaction to corruption is well known. In the fourth term, the relationship of Putin to his associates will be the following: the more political responsibilities you shoulder, and the more you suffer from foreign pressure, the more forgiveness can be earned in the eyes of the leader.
Rule #2: Expand, but be wary. Rosneft is a prime example that state assets are becoming far more difficult to seize than private ones. The oligarchy sprouting from Putin’s tenure will start to become interested in the property accumulated in the 1990s by former Yeltsin oligarchs. Putin will sanction these actions to avoid too much conflict and prevent too much reliance on state assistance.
Rule #3: National interests are more important than your company’s interests. Oligarchs like Vladimir Yakunin and Igor Sechin gobbled up resources and benefits until they ran into direct criticism from the president. Posing corporate interests as national interests will become increasingly difficult in Putin’s fourth term, especially given the fight between the government and state corporations for dividends.
Rule #4: Deal with it on your own. Today we see a landscape in which Sechin is at loggerheads with Alexei Ulyukayev, Yevgeny Yevtushenkov, Nikolai Tokarev, Ramzan Kadyrov; Kadyrov with the FSB; the FSB with the Russian Guard; and the Russian Guard with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. But in his third term, Putin distanced himself from interclan showdowns and conflicts, and directed more attention to geopolitics. Putin will continue to surround himself with technocrats, the military, and security to raise a new pro-Putin generation. The older associates will face more rigid competition and depoliticization.
Rule #5: Be patriotic. As Putin’s system continues to self-identify with anti-Westernism and anti-Americanism, the president will demand the same from his associates. Today, there is no reason to believe that Putin’s fourth term will see a decrease in tension between Russia and the West—in fact, the Ukraine conflict and the current relationship with the West and Europe say the opposite. Putin’s fourth term will need patriots more than businessmen, and a team that implements national priorities, not self-development.
Stanovaya concludes that all said, Putin’s fourth term will create a politically empty technocratic “power vertical.”
Republic, Друзья на новый срок,Татьяна Становая, 11 декабря 2017 г.

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