Reading Russia: The Siloviki in Charge

Issue Date April 2009
Volume 20
Issue 2
Page Numbers 69-72
file Print
arrow-down-thin Download from Project MUSE
external View Citation

The holders of political power in Russia today are the siloviki (sometimes called “securocrats” by political scientists). These are the people who work for, or who used to work for, the silovye ministerstva-literally “the ministries of force”-charged with wielding coercion and violence in the name of the state. Since Vladimir Putin’s rise to power at the end of the 1990s, siloviki have spread to posts throughout all the branches of power in Russia. The current regime is a “hard” authoritarian regime shading toward a “soft” dictatorship. For ordinary Russian citizens, this means the presence of some tangible level of personal freedoms, but a nearly complete absence of any substantive political rights, a seriously reduced scope for the exercise of civil liberties, and significant limits to one’s personal security.

About the Author

Andrei Illarionov is senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, and president of the Institute of Economic Analysis in Moscow. From 2000 to 2005, he was chief economic advisor to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Illarionov received his doctorate in economics from St. Petersburg University in 1987.

View all work by Andrei Illiarionov