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Alexei Venediktov on the struggle of the Kremlin clans in the new government of the Russian Federation

Алексей Венедиктов — о борьбе кремлевских кланов в новом правительстве РФ

On Friday, may 18, in Russia should appear a new government. It is already clear that it will be much repeat the previous Cabinet of Ministers, radical changes should not wait. With the chief editor of “echo of Moscow” Alexei Venediktov, we discussed that the contours of a new study say about the balance of interests of the Kremlin clans and what will result in the transformation of Russia into a super-presidential Republic.

— We’re a little embarrassed, because I would like to discuss staffing issues associated with the government, but literally tomorrow Medvedev must fully understand the office and now I guess what I have to wait a few hours. But if not about names, something about some trends I can talk. In General, Vladimir Putin spoke about the snatch, but the new government seems not the government of a breakthrough, but the government stalemate. Changes are not visible.

— Changes should not be seen as new tasks, besides the General, the President is not delivered. It is clear that the President will do the same thing in his previous term. Under the same problem of new people not required. We see the emergence of only one person who is considered to be effective. I mean Mr. Akimov, the first Deputy head of the government was to lead the unit (it was made to replace Mr. Prikhodko). But as a result of different kinds of bureaucratic and intriganskaya stories comes another man, and Akimov is on the digital economy, communication and communication. There is a new Deputy Prime Minister.

That’s about it. Otherwise, by and large, personalities of Ministers is not important. We see that our Republic is becoming a super-presidential, powers more legally move to the President. If, instead, Medina will Ledinsky or Sedensky — little will change. One or other Minister determines the style, but does not define the policies in defense, international Affairs, Economics, ideology, and healthcare. Policy determined by the President.

Style is also important, tone is important — people pay attention to it.

— I’m not a big fan of to follow style.

— What explains Putin’s refusal to dismiss even the most odious officials such as sports Minister?

— The word “odious” you and Putin understand differently. First, about Mutko: the only justification that Medvedev made about Deputy Prime Ministers, touched just Mutko. “We do not bend under external pressure.” Here is the answer that we come up with? It is clear that the preservation Mutko is the result of coordination between Medvedev and Putin. We hear the voice of Putin’s phrase about the external pressure.

— That is a demonstrative step, in spite of the West?

— Yes to whom what to show? The time when we were trying to get from the West, passed. Just Putin believes that Mutko effective (and, incidentally, some observers, such as Vasily Utkin, agree with him).

— Putin said that Mutko effective?!

Yes. Secondly, it is your own. Third, external pressure. I know that the President of the Olympic Committee Mr. Bach a year ago was telling someone (I do not know Putin personally or not) that if Mutko will be removed, then the problem will solve. Mutko, said Bach, toxic, it is impossible to communicate. Even then it could be done Vice Prime Minister for housing, and maybe in the Olympics would be our flag. Could put the Governor of St. Petersburg, the Leningrad region, anyone. But no — we do not bend. It is the attitude to the staff.

In addition, efficiency implies the performance of tasks. We do not know what task he was set by the President. This he determines, not you.

— What do you know? After all tasks are put in public: strategies, plans, programmes.

— The problem is, as Putin himself says, a matter of position. What can be measured in meters, kilograms and seconds. Not at all, not “breakthrough”. Where breakthrough?

— Where? How do you understand “breakthrough”, which says Putin?

I don’t understand. As Putin understands it — is to sand. It is clear that Putin understands the economic problems, the problems of sanctions. I think that his vision of a breakthrough is a breakthrough of the hostile environment that has developed around Russia. And then thank you Mr. Trump with its rejection of the nuclear deal with Iran — there is a breakthrough. Now we find common ground with Merkel, with the Macron. To remove any sanctions — it will be a breakthrough.

— You say the names of the Ministers in the government are not important. And Deputy Prime Ministers?

— Looking for someone. The names of Deputy Prime Ministers is important for those observers who are interested in the balance of the clans in the elite. For ordinary people they are not important, they don’t care who is in charge of regions, Kozak or Mutko. But for understanding how people are appointed and reduced, this is important.

The design showed a few things. First, we saw that Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, contrary to the common perception that he’s a puppet and a puppet has serious weight. He succeeded, as far as I know, to block the appointment of the current assistant to the President for economy Andrey Belousov on a post of the first Deputy Prime Minister.

Actually, we have a Prime Minister is the Vice-President, and the main economic policy first Deputy Prime Minister. It operating work. It is very important who holds this position, place the second person in the government. Andrei Belousov, a different vision of the economy than Medvedev. He was willing to take this position. His staff, as I said, already Packed for the move to the White house. However, Medvedev failed to stop the appointment, not to give the go ahead to become a “second Prime Minister”. He was replaced by Anton Siluanov, who have enough work in the Ministry of Finance. He received additional opportunities.

But Silvanus is considered a person Kudrin, with whom Medvedev has also relations so-so.

— There’s no “clan Kudrin”. Medvedev was important that next to him was not the man who has a heavy political resource. Siluanov — in fact, financial inspector.

The second proof of the power of the Medvedev — the appointment of Deputy Prime Minister- head of the government apparatus. Sergei Prikhodko was gone and in its place had come Maxim Akimov. However, Medvedev managed to return to Konstantin Chuichenko. Chuichenko was his classmate, he goes everywhere with Medvedev. When Medvedev became Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Gazprom”, he took Chuichenko from St. Petersburg and appointed him head of the legal Department “Gazprom”. But when Medvedev became President, Chuichenko was headed by a Comptroller.

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So, Medvedev one key position did not allow the stranger, and the other put his. So no matter how caricatured as neither looked to Mr. Medvedev, to treat it should be serious. He has two important qualities, which no one: patience and caution. These qualities have worked. Putin trusts him.

But Dvorkovich, Medvedev did not hold.

— The question of whether he wanted to keep him? The last time we saw that Mr Putin gave instructions Dvorkovich directly by Medvedev. For example, was appointed Chairman of the organizing Committee of the 2018 world Cup, Mutko removing. And did Medvedev hold Dvorkovich? Why?

— The history of Magomedov influenced the fate Dvorkovich?

— Of course. Putin decides on the overall picture. The fate Rogozin, for example, affected by the scandals that tired. Mutko also have the scandals, but his Mutko, and Rogozin someone else. However, he can still get a good designation in any company.

Roskosmos did he promise?

I don’t know. What’s the difference, Roscosmos or the holding company, which he wanted to collect “AVISMA”, Uralvagonzavod and all that?

Space more people are watching. Rockets fall, the satellites do not reach.

Well, this is how to sell. The Uralvagonzavod is also notable failures. Depends on the number of well-wishers. When the tank “Armata” stalled in the red square, it abruptly satellites was.

— As for the other Vice-premiers?

— We can say that the clan of Igor Ivanovich Sechin is not increased. But and the clan of his rival, Sergei Chemezov is also not increased. Everyone was waiting for the appointment Manturov, Deputy Prime Minister for industry, or even the first Vice-Prime Minister, but this did not happen. Not passed.

But Yuri Borisov, who will replace Rogozin — Chemezov people.

And Borisov, and Rogozin… But not directly. Manturov directly his man, the Dauphin, the heir.

That is, the gain did not happen either Sechin or Chemezov have. It is, according to Vice-Prime Ministers. We still have to look at the names of the Ministers.

It is very important that Trutnev the only one of the envoys to retain the post of Deputy Prime Minister. Trutnev, as Kudrin, a personal reserve of Supreme Commander.

On — Demand. Golikova does not belong to any clan, she belongs to the clan of Putin. She made a powerful leap upwards — all the social programs it. This suggests that Putin prefers vaclavovich people. Social situation given the sanctions could get worse. Medvedev has already said about raising the retirement age. And Golikova opponent of raising the retirement age. Putin creates balance. For those who are looking for those, it becomes more understandable.

— Kudrin at the head of the accounting chamber.

— Kudrin had several options. Medvedev in the government didn’t want, he didn’t made. Actually, it was discussed that he will become first Deputy head of administration, the third first Deputy Vaino (in addition to Kiriyenko and Gromov), will engage in strategic planning, Steven Bannon worked at the trump. But it could happen if he has gone to the government. Belousov did not leave, and that Kudrin is there to do?

The chamber is an excellent platform for Kudrin. This is “economic terrorism”. You become the attorney General for Economics. You control all the costs, every ruble, every budget. This is a good starting position. This is the case when the man paints the place.

Please note, Golikova [on the post of the Chairman of the joint venture] met with Putin every Thursday. Who else but the Prime Minister so often found with the President? This is important. Well, maybe the security Council. So Kudrin could the chamber to gain weight, to sit on the ground until the next breakthrough. We still young, we have time.

— Once the center of power increasingly shifted in the direction of the President, whether to wait for changes in his administration?

— I don’t think. Policy is determined by the same chef. Anton Vaino, Sergey Kirienko, Alexey Gromov — these are the main players in the AP. All the rest, heads of departments, say — what’s the difference? People who perform, but do not define.

But again, the tone of the work. Here’s the story with Aranym…

— Yarin — who is this? Do you think that he led an independent policy?

— No, of course, but this style of work.

— Well, will pass. The tone do not care, care about results, efficiency.


— What about the envoys?

— First, the Institute is maintained. Is the most important envoy — Trutnev, the only Deputy Prime Minister. Tenth Deputy Prime Minister — or the first. I do think that he can go to the first Deputy, but, then, in reserve.

The post of Ambassador is that you can plow or not to plow…

— In the Urals we see that you can not plow.

— And in the Volga region we see that you can plow without end. It definitely depends on the person. Mikhail Babich — very active. Alexey Gordeev is also a very active and very happy that it went to the government.

Today, speaking to students, you said that I’m willing to bet that Igor Kholmanskikh won’t retain his position.

Now, when Kiriyenko efficiency is measured by the numbers, people like Kholmanskikh, who could not “plow”, not pass. I said that I’m willing to bet on the ruble, Igor Kholmanskikh will remain. But only for the ruble — a small price error. If no one else will find — will remain.

— Why do we need the Embassy? 18 years can no longer understand.

— A good question. Sergei Kiriyenko (Sergei Kiriyenko). And to Vladimir Putin. I think it’s some kind of birth trauma.

— Security forces also do not expect changes?

Force component of the government determined by the President of the Russian Federation. The change of the security forces would amount to a policy change, but only change specific frame, a pension, envoys, Ambassador.

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— Well, there may be structural changes — the Union of SK and the Prosecutor’s office.

— That’s the only thing, perhaps. But again, I don’t see much of a difference for the population.

— Passed the Crimean bridge. Does this mean that the Crimea all our?

— First of all, everything in our world is not forever. Secondly, it will be an everlasting pain that will poison our relations with Ukraine and Europe. Here comes to us the Prime Minister of Japan Abe, who will again talk about the Kuril Islands and on a peace Treaty. We have with Japan, the war is not over, there is no peace, although 73 years have passed. In the case of Smoked Putin acknowledges the problem and seeks its solution. The first step is to recognize that the Crimea is a problem for Russia, Ukraine, Europe, the population of Crimea. Putin will never admit this problem, for him the issue is closed.

— So only the next President.

— Well, Yes. And the question of the bridge is a minor.

— Interesting story with how the state Duma has tried to roll out a new counter-sanctions, but it is much straightened. Interfered with business, buzzing community organizations. And they still passed the law, but much of it has changed.

Are you kidding me? What kind of business, what social organizations. It was the pressure of presidential administration. The negative conclusion of the main legal Department of presidential administration is the most important thing.

— Why the Duma and up here came into conflict?

— The state Duma, headed by Vyacheslav Volodin, trying to regain subjectivity. The leadership of the Duma and the Federation Council knows that, if you jump over the red line — derision, but no more. But not reach the red line will be punished. It is better to defect. For this we need to find its subjectivity. They are the trendsetters, which the President then using scissors or something can fix.

And Volodin found its subjectivity?

No, but it’s all in motion. Volodin tries to take obscurantist-reactionary wing of Putin’s bureaucracy. How to regain subjectivity? To become the leader of some significant movement. So., Tolstoy, Milon. All under his wing. He Volodin, of course, thinks differently, he is a man of a different culture. But to the Politburo to have the weight (by itself, the Duma is not a weight), you need to submit to some ideology.

— 5 may have passed the next protest actions. In your opinion, was something new in the reaction of the authorities?

We are moving in the direction of full controllability, super-presidential Republic. Everything that is not controlled should be controlled. The rest is losses in the course. So next will be harder. And this is not only since may 5, due to the fact that we are surrounded by enemies, United in the face of external threats. Who are not United — the enemy.

— What are the risks this creates for the country?

— Russia Federation, and is contrary to the idea of a super-presidential Republic. There is a real crisis in understanding the development of the country. View on the Volga, the history of language teaching over the last year. Loyal leaders of the republics are faced with a personal decision of Putin. The presidents tried to explain to him that you can’t do that, but I couldn’t. Fed nationalists.

Either the Federation or super-presidential Republic.


— What output can I find this contradiction?

— The President believes that the super-presidential Republic is an effective control.

— I think we are facing a constitutional reform?

— Why threaten? On the contrary, happiness, motion, not death. In my understanding, Mr Putin will not leave power after 2024. Of course, I could be wrong. But if I’m right, it means that either under the current Constitution will be found a kind of solution, or adjustment, which will give power no matter what position, but it will be Mr Putin. The question is not reform, but the fact that Putin is not going away. As a way to leave there: lawyers work.

— Do you think that what Putin is today’s mission?

His mission is to return Russia to the club of great powers. He wants to return the country to the position that was the USSR before its collapse. And all the rest are ways of achieving this goal.

— From the point of view of the history of this mission seems doable?

— Of course not. Putin sees an outdated model of the world, the Yalta-Potsdam, where the world was divided between the great powers at the end of the Second world war. But for 75 years, the world has completely changed. It was not territorial control, and the other, including intellectual. And the President wants territorial control. He believes that the strength of the country control over a certain territory. This may be only partly true, but he and his surrounding peers (police for example), think so. Therefore, all our policies is: “make friends with France against Germany”, “friends with all against Britain”, “friends with Britain against Iraq.” He sees that the great powers want to divide Syria, and wants to participate in the division of Syria or keep it under the control of Russia.

— This picture is from a history textbook.

Because we people of the twentieth century.

And he loves history.


— He reads a lot on this topic. And he wants through increased territorial control to restore the great country. But it is impossible because the world is different.

His picture of the world quite in tune with the vision of the majority of Russians.

Yes. But if the TV worked different picture of the world people would have been different.

— Look, there’s at least some reason for optimism in the next six years? Here is a new “may decree”, because it promised some positive changes.

Are you kidding me? When Putin six years ago he was elected, in his program was not the Crimea or Syria or Donbass, no sanctions, no struggle with the Internet. We have all this in the middle of the term. So all the words in “may decree” correct… But this is not true.

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