) are one cadre of institutional power in Vladimir Putin
. Their name comes from an informal variation on "the powerful ones," which is a general nickname for ministry apparatchik
generally have their political origins in either St. Petersburg
's civil administration of the early '90s (where Putin
worked as an economist), or in the state security apparatus of the FSB
(formerly the KGB
), and sometimes both.
of the Siloviki is explicitely statist, with authoritarian
undercurrents. Many in Russia
endorse this ideology, seeing it as a necessary counterweight to the power of the Oligarchs
and the Russian Mafia
. The prefered methodology of influence is sub-rosa manipulation of appointments and the exercize of executive power through the strong Russian presidency
(which has become moreso under Putin).
They are opposed institutionally by the Yeltsin Family
Some of the leading Siloviki are:
— Refered to as "Putin's Gray Cardinal
," an explicit reference to Putin's own nickname, the Deputy Head of Presidential Administration has the power to decide what legislation and security orders remain secret, along with the responsibility of setting access to the President, and the important ability to appoint deputy ministers (as well as internal staff, experts and consultants) to the Russian Cabinet. These powers echo Stalin
's use of the party secretariat to control internal factions. The fact that ministers cannot appoint their own deputies makes Sechin necessary for the success of any cabinet appointee. He has followed Putin from St. Petersburg, where he worked in City Council administration, and has served in the FSB as an "interpreter" in Africa
. The current head of Rosnef
, one of Russia's largest state oil companies, Sechin was implicated by Mikhail Khodorkovsky
(former head of Yukos
Oil Company) in his arrest and trial. While Sechin certainly gained from it, he has denied involvement.
— Former Deputy Head of Presidential Administration, now an Aide to the President, Ivanov also served with Putin in the KGB
in St. Petersburg before advancing in the ranks of post-Soviet politics. Widely believed to have the greatest private influence on Putin's views of all of the Siloviki.
— No relation to Viktor Ivanov
, the Defense Minister trained with Putin at the KGB Academy
, before being tapped as the head of the National Security Council. He is seen as an internal rival to Sechin, especially after opposing Mikhail Fradkov
's move to the Prime Ministership (which Sechin backed).
— A loyal technocrat, Fradkov became Prime Minister in 2005 after years of bureaucratic service and a stint as the head of the Federal Tax Service. Seen as a "weak siloviki" due to his lack of true military experience, Fradkov continues to push Putin's party line (though his move to the position of Prime Minister has diminished his ability to influence policy, due to the weakness of the Russian Duma