February 25, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6325

Russian Political Analyst: The Russian Business Elite Will Not Rebel Against Putin

February 25, 2016
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 6325

In an article titled "Forget about Any Revolution Happening Today," Russian political analyst Vladislav Inozemtsev, director of the Moscow-based Center for Post-Industrial Studies, asks whether Russia's business elite is likely to come out against the policies of the regime and against its head, President Vladimir Putin. He argues that, despite the ongoing economic crisis, these elites are not likely to turn against the regime, and enumerates several reasons for this.

The following are the excerpts from his article.[1]

Image:, September 1, 2015

In The International Arena, There Are Signs That Russia Will Be Regarded As A Leper State

"In the international arena, there are signs that Russia will be regarded as a leper state that richly deserves punishment, and this for a variety of reasons (the annexation of Crimea and the occupation of Donbass, the killing of innocent civilians in Syria, the involvement of the Russian authorities in criminal plots, etc.). [Hence, the sanctions] will remain in effect even if all the terms of the Minsk agreement are met. In such a situation, any changes in the country will depend, first and foremost, on how far the prices of raw materials will drop, when the reserve funds run out, and how quickly prices of basic commodities will rise while wage levels remain fixed. However, there is another factor that is no less important: whether or not a schism will emerge in the country's elite groups.

"[Concerning the first points,] we do not know the direction oil prices will take, what policies the Central Bank of Russia or the Russian government will adopt regarding the exchange rate for the ruble, or most of the other economically significant factors. The answer to the second question appears to be more predictable: A schism in the elite groups is as unlikely to emerge as a rebellion of the elite groups against Putin..."

For The Majority of [Russian] Top-Ranking Businessmen, The Idea Of Pushing Out A President Appears Profoundly Irrational

"Three fundamental factors will have a marked influence on... the elite groups. The first factor is that, for more than a year now... dissatisfied and concerned individuals [among the business elite] have been leaving the country, transferring their fundamental assets... overseas. The 'exit' strategy is still much more rational and less risky than the strategy of resistance [against the regime]... The elite groups [which will remain in the country] will be bought with [State] budgets and with the redistribution of [State] property...

"The second factor is that the new Russian elite became rich under Putin's presidency. Their assets and career have been achieved in such a short period of time that they feel dependent on the regime. Thus, for the overwhelming majority of politicians and top-ranking members of the business world, the very idea of 'pushing out' a president appears profoundly irrational..." 

There Is Nobody In Russia Today To Support A Revolution Against The Regime, Let Alone Initiate It

"The third factor is that the elite groups today do not see any real menace 'from below'... There is no civil society, and the political parties are not real players in social processes. Under such circumstances, a 'palace revolution' would be utterly nonsensical, because no one would support it, let alone initiate it. Moreover, the last few years have convincingly demonstrated that neither the nation nor the entrepreneurs have reacted to the ÔÇÿunpopular measures' undertaken by the Russian authorities, such as the reduction in 2016 of the linkage of pensions and monthly allowances to the cost-of-living index, a series of changes in tax laws and preparations for the reduction of funds from Russian oil companies.

"[Furthermore,] many privately-owned companies and banks will hit rock bottom and will come under government control; their owners will drop out of the game. Some state-owned companies, being economic entities without any prospects, will also be reorganized... Thus, bureaucrats will rally around [the regime] to actively participate in the redistribution of [State] property and money..."



 [1], Februrary 8, 2016.

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