In an article, titled "The Evolution Of The Ruling Class In Russia, Who Vladimir Putin Will Bet On?", Russian expert Alexander Khaldey analyzed the problem of transfer of power in Russia in 2024.
Khaldey explained that Russian President Vladimir Putin is running Russia and organizing the present managerial class with the mentality of a KGB agent. "In Russia, the president is a secret service agent. Not an ex-agent, because ex-intelligence officers do not exist. He perfectly mastered the art of governing the country, but this art was perceived through the prism of intelligence skills," Khaldey opined.
He then added that Putin is running Russia as a "residency." "What does it mean? – Khaldey asked – It means that for [Putin] there are four categories of subordinates: agents, recruited by him, double agents, agents of the enemy and dark horses, whose status has not yet been identified. The reliability requirement is the main criterion… Competence is not the main thing."
According to Khaldey, the problem of the transfer of power in 2024 will not be about finding a suitable candidate, but about the lack of a political and managerial class. In fact, Putin created a managerial class that is loyal to him, but that it is not prepared to run a country. However, there is a new class that is growing slowly, Khaldey reported, and is being shaped by the confrontation with the West. Khaldey further explained that the whole evolution of the future Russian managerial class will be determined by the Russia-West confrontation.
Below is Khaldey's article:
In Russia, The President Is A Secret Service Agent
"It is well known that there is a science of medicine and an art of healing. You can know everything theoretically and at the same time be a bad doctor in practice. There is management science, and there is the art of management. You can get an MBA diploma, but be incapable of coping with a brigade of workers; you can lack higher education and become a billionaire, having tens of thousands of people [employed in your] companies.
"Science is a systemized waste dump of methods, techniques and principles. Art is the selection of what is best suited for you, a way to customize it for ourselves and apply it in accordance with one's individuality and nature. Knowledge of science offers no salvation, if you do not know how to reformulate someone else's experience for your own.
"Science fixes management styles, and art says: what works beautifully for one is absolutely counter-productive for another. The ability to choose the right tool, adjust it to required characteristics and apply it in accordance with one's personality- here lie the foundations for the emergence of a charismatic manager, which, as everyone knows, we are short of. A global shortage of bright managers exists.
"However, science methodology teaches us that the principal is not a teacher, the head physician is not a doctor, the police chief is not a police officer, managers have something in common, and that something makes them a single social class regardless of the industry. And this class is the managerial one. The management function forms one type of personality, regardless of what is being managed.
"When a manager ascends the career ladder, he preserves the worldview of his first profession for the rest of his life. It doesn’t matter how many diplomas he will get, they will be assumed by his first specialty, and through it will be interpreted and perceived.
"A feature of current management personnel in Russia is the lack of special training for managing of the state and its institutions. The Soviet system of cultivating universal managers collapsed, a new one was formed from the ground up. If in China a class of politicians stands above business and officials, in Russia officials are politicians. Therefore, in Russia, officials have fused together with business and are not under control.
"And for the management of officials, a special group of 'former' officers was formed, which replaced the departed class of politicians from the Communist Party. No matter how you prepare governors and ministers from them, they remain officers. This is how to make [Soviet] General Berzarin a commandant of Berlin. He will lead Berlin as a military unit. He has no other experience.
"Former skills are the most proven, and they crowd out risky new techniques. A boxer who has learned to be a karate fighter will always strive to jump in battle, while a karate fighter who has been trained as a boxer will always keep his hands low, throw jabs and crosses like giving a tsuki punch and stand on his entire foot. And a footballer in taekwondo will kick his opponent's foot like a soccer ball. Stereotypes are therefore stable, as they solve the main tasks of survival.
"Managers also have their own stereotypes - life-proven techniques and principles. In Russia, the president is a secret service agent. Not an ex-agent, because ex-intelligence officers do not exist. He perfectly mastered the art of governing the country, but this art was perceived through the prism of intelligence skills. Vladimir Putin trusts these skills because they saved his life. This is different from skills providing career success. What saves one's life will never be erased. Risking your head is not the same as to risk your career. This is the peculiarity of the current Russian president’s style of management.
"Putin, as a secret service agent, willingly or unwittingly uses his usual methods of control. This is inevitable, because the skills are formed by the entire previous life and do not go anywhere upon a change in the profile of activity, but only transformed slightly. An engineer who becomes a director or a minister will manage as an engineer, pushing the technical component.
"But if an accountant becomes a director or minister, he will manage as an accountant, leaning on balance and economics. A lawyer who becomes a manager will lean on the legal aspects and avoid accounting and technical or economic ones. When the party leaders came to power in the USSR, whatever they led — the country, the plant, the ministry, agriculture, culture, intelligence, the scientific research institutes — they led them as party organizations. That is, everywhere they did the same thing.
For Putin, There Are Four Categories Of Subordinates: Agents Recruited By him, Double agents, Agents Of The Enemy And Dark Horses
"Academician Yevgeny Primakov led foreign intelligence as if it was a research institute. The business executive [Viktor] Chernomyrdin led the government like [he did] the Ministry of the Oil and Gas Industry. Party functionary [Boris] Yeltsin led the country as [he did] the Sverdlovsk region. Spy Putin directs the country as a [KGB] residency.
"What does it mean? It means that for him there are four categories of subordinates: agents, recruited by him, double agents, agents of the enemy and dark horses, whose status has not yet been identified. The requirement of reliability is the main criterion, and only one who is personally verified is reliable. Competence is not the main thing. It will be bad if the agent is competent, but works for the enemy. It is better to survive his mistake than sabotage by someone else.
"Any leader can’t know everything about everything. He inevitably has to be an arbiter in matters where he does not have the required competence. Here, the main thing for him is trust in experts. All managers solve this problem in different ways. Party members put everything in the committees. Business executives choose what does not endanger their careers. Scientists shy away from making a decision, knowing in advance that it will be defective. The military recalled how they acted on the battlefield and decide to take the risk, and then see what’s going to happened.
"How does a [KGB] resident who understands that he is not a financier, solves the problem of financial management? He recruits a financier and orders him to solve the problem. He does not hire a financier to work, namely, he recruits him. That is, he seeks to understand and control him.
"And what does Putin see in the finance-related personnel? Here he sees: a) double agents, b) enemy agents, c) his agents, who think not as politicians, but abstractly, as when working with abstract mathematical models. That is, they are all unsuitable for political consulting.
"How does [Former Finance Minister and current head of Russia's Audit Chamber, Alexei] Kudrin see the work of the president, whom he seeks to influence? For Kudrin, with his accounting worldview, the entire social sphere is a non-core asset to be overhauled and dismantled. What remains will feed itself, if it cannot die. Hence all the reforms in the pensions, medicine, science and education. The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy, and the Central Bank also think in the same way. Putin looks at the cadre and understands that there is no one to recruit, everyone just needs to be cleaned up. But who will replace them?
"Then comes [Russian economist and advisor to Russian President Putin] Sergey Glazyev - sort of like your own. He gives prescriptions: 'In order for the economy to work, you need to make a revolution in the country.' 'I understand,' Putin says, 'but how to do it and with whose help? And so that the country does not collapse?' 'I don’t know, this is not a question for me,' says Glazyev, 'I am an economist, politics is not my profile. Did you order a project on economics? Get it and sign it. How to implement it – it’s your task.'
"And Putin understands that in his residency there is no one to recruit to understand not one side of the problem, but all of them put together. And because of this, his personnel policy comes down to manual control — that is, to the containment and direction of activity of those who have to be used. There are no other personnel in Russia. And most importantly - there is no system for their preparation. They add up spontaneously. A spontaneous process – is a piecemeal one. Of the hundreds who have passed through the war, between 10 and 15 people are valid. They have yet to be calculated, verified, made ready, and not burned ahead of time.
"The problem of transfer of power in 2024 is not a problem of [finding] a suitable candidate. This is the problem caused by the absence of a class above officialdom. The formation of this class will take a century, because like grass on an English lawn, it grows slowly and requires care. But the more Russia is involved in the confrontation with the West, the more surely and steadily such a class is being created through natural evolution.
"Those who live to the second half of the forties will see this class in action. All this time in Russia, manual control and dependence on the qualities of the first person in the state will remain. And because of that the next 25 years, the attacks of the West on the first person will continue. The entire evolution of the Russian management class will be determined by this particular feature."
 Iarex.ru, March 15, 2019.
See also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7931, Putin And The Elite – Russian Expert Khaldey: Putin Hasn't The Resources To Undermine The System; In 2024, A New Anti-Liberal Elite Will Come To Power, March 7, 2019.