To meet the fourth deadline: how Vladimir Putin is changing the personnel policy

The appointment of Anton Vaino, head of the presidential administration definitely has no relation to parliamentary elections. Currently, the Federal government can afford to replace key officials over a month before the vote. Even if the rating of “United Russia” and will drop at the finish of the election campaign (which is possible given the inevitable growth in public activity of competitors), the single-seat districts — that in the future the Duma will be half more than made up the shortfall. As it was in 2003, when United Russia received lists of 37.5%, completely dominated the newly elected Duma.

So the question of parliamentary elections is now in charge. But the presidential election campaign looks pretty clear — with only one caveat. Presidential elections in Russia for a long time are almost plebiscitary character, that is, they are voting “for” or “against” of Vladimir Putin. Even in 2008, when his name was not on the ballot — Dmitry Medvedev’s rating was “borrowed”. But now there is a fork in the road.

Putin vs. Clinton

In one embodiment, the plebiscitary model is brought to a scenario in which loyal to the President, the parliamentary opposition parties not to nominate their candidates and rally around the “national leader” (a step towards this scenario were made in 2004, when the CPRF and the LDPR at the strong advice of the Kremlin has refused the nomination of Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky). In this case, the challengers to be Grigory Yavlinsky and some “safety” candidate in the unlikely case that Yabloko decides to act. In this scenario, Putin will be competing in the public space not with their rivals, and, most likely, Hillary Clinton, which only the miracle can prevent to become President of the United States. The voter is faced with a choice — either “our” Putin or against him and hostile to America. In this case, Putin can get and almost “Central Asian” 90% of the votes.

Another option is to save previous designs that in elections involving representatives of all major parties, but fighting half-heartedly, discreetly vying for second place. In this case, the plebiscitary model preserves its incompleteness, but it doesn’t hurt Putin to more than 70% of the votes — even with the use of not as much factor in hopes for a better future, how much of a lack of alternatives and fear of the West. The important thing is that the society will accept any scenario of elections in the Kremlin.

But much more important for the authorities and for companies the question — what will happen after the presidential elections in the fourth term for Putin. And here we can recall the acclaimed but highly realistic statement of the first Deputy Finance Minister Tatyana Nesterenko about the fact that if not to conduct reforms by the end of 2017 there will be no reserves, no possibility to pay salaries. It is clear what is meant by the reforms is a series of unpopular steps, including raising the retirement age and further cuts in social obligations. By the way, periodically appearing rumors about the “relocation” of the presidential elections in 2017 linked with this factor. To go to such measures before the vote, do not want, and in 2018, the costs of implementing them could be much higher.

Question about premiere

Thus, the fourth presidential term of Putin will be difficult — not only due to external, but primarily internal calls. Hence the desire now to put the right personnel. And that is why now aktiviziruyutsya “hardware wars”, including the fight for the Premiership, when Medvedev immediately “catch” on the unsuccessful applications, in respect of the pensioners, teachers. It seemed that after the end of 2014, was passed the acute phase of the crisis, the question of the Premiership is delayed until 2018 — as, according to some, was agreed in autumn 2011, before the well-known castling President and Prime Minister. But if the economic risks are off scale, then the matter can come back before. And you may need an official, do not have their own electoral ambitions and are ready to steadily implement the mandated programme of action. The name of this officer in this case is not important — it can be as widely known and unexpected. It is possible to compare remember I heard once the story about how the generals in the defense Ministry, after learning that the new Minister appointed someone Serdyukov, began to call to the administration of the Leningrad region, which was then headed by a person with that name. They had no idea that military reform will charge to carry out the taxman with furniture the past.

Many of the old associates of Putin does not fit into a rigid model in which the number of resources dramatically reduced. Therefore Yakunin the head of Russian Railways changes the technocrat Belozerov. A dismissal Yakunin became the precedent for a series of other staffing decisions directly concerning the participants of the “St. Petersburg Association”, who lost in a new political and economic realities of the immunity from layoffs. If you can fire one longtime colleague, why not to do the same with others?

Managers of the hungry years

In this situation, Putin increasingly relies not just on true people, but on those who for nearly his entire career has done during his leadership of the country (presidency and Premiership). For them it was never “equal” or even “first among equals”. Putin for this layer of civil servants (in uniform and without) is a sacral figure, a leader who “was always”. Therefore, it is very difficult to imagine a Russia without Putin. The most important positions nominated people from the “inner circle” — Colonel Kochnev of the presidential guard, received the General Director of the FSO, and now Vaino, who oversaw the office of Putin, and now led his entire administration. The third key “appointee” — General Zolotov, commander of the newly created Regardie — formally, this category is not included: it is familiar with Putin since the early 90s. But his relationship with the boss, as far as we know, have always been built in the framework of a hierarchical logic, not “KGB brotherhood”, in which future managers and employees when it was equal and was sitting in the office next door to Leningrad.

Sometimes when analyzing the current political situation in Russia is between economic liberals and the reactionary siloviki in recent years, however, a few less than before. This is not surprising. A simple scheme does not take into account a number of factors — from the well-known competition within the security community to the impossibility of carrying out tough reforms without the presence of powerful security resources to minimize risks associated with growing socio-economic protest. Optimization of the reform do not exclude the attempts of tightening the vertical and placement in key positions of trusted individuals — on the contrary, such decisions quite fit into their logic.

The authors ‘ point of view, articles which are published in the section “Opinions” may not coincide with ideas of editorial.