As commander in chief, Vlaridin Putin responsibility for the invasion rests with him, but he has always relied on a deeply loyal entourage, many of whom also began their careers in Russia’s security services. The question is who has his ear, during this most fateful moment in his presidency.
Sergei Shoigu – Minister of Defence
Sergei Shoigu is a long-time confidant of president Putin, who has led president’s line of protecting Russia aganst military threat -protecting Russia from the West’s so-called and demilitarising Ukraine.
He was credited with the military seizure of Crimea in 2014. He was also in charge of the GRU military intelligence agency, accused of two nerve agent poisonings – the near-fatal attack on opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Siberia 2020, and the deadly 2018 attack in Salisbury in the UK.
Defence minister is still the most influential voice the president hears, however It may look awkward to some people.
“Shoigu is not only in charge of the military, he’s also partly in charge of ideology – and in Russia ideology is mostly about history and he’s in control of the narrative.” Russian security expert and writer Andrei Soldatov.
Gen Sergei has in the past been viewed as Putin’s potential successor.
Sergei Naryshkin- Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR)
With full of experience since the Leningrad KGB days, Sergei took over its leadership after being rebranded to FSB when Nikolai Patrushev moved on.
The two are known to be close to the president, but Mr. Sergei has had an upper hand in Putin’s confidants.
“It’s not as if we can say with complete confidence who is calling the shots and who took the decisions.” Ben Noble points out.
Completing the trio of old Leningrad spooks, Sergei Naryshkin has remained at president’s side for much of his career.
- Mastercard & Visa Suspend Services to Russian Banks Amid EU Sanctions
- As Russia’s isolation grows, China hints at limits of friendship
Andrei Soldatov believes Sergei is important, although not there to challenge Putin or offer advice in the same way as others.
Having its own special forces, FSB has substantial influence over other law enforcement urgencies hencxe considered slightly above them.
at one moment, Sergei went off-message during the security council meeting which made the president to grill him in front of the television. However, he handled the whole situation with calmness, proving he enjoyed the moment.
“It was shocking. He’s incredibly cool and collected so people will have asked what’s going on here,” Ben Noble told the BBC
“Putin loves playing games with his inner circle, making him [Naryshkin] look a fool.”
During Last year’s interview with the BBC corresponted, Steve Rosenberg, Sergei rubbished specultions linking Russia to cyber attacks or had interfered in other countries’ elections.
Sergei Naryshkin has long shadowed Vlaradin Putin, in the 1990s at St Petersburg, then in Putin’s office in 2004, eventually becoming speaker of parliament.
Valery Gerasimov- Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces
As chief of staff, invading Ukraine and completing the job faster was his number one mission, which is proceeding well as per hius plan
Since his reign as army commander in the Chechen War of 1999, Nikolai Patrushev has played a major role in Vladimir Putin’s military campaigns.
Russia specialist Mark Galeotti, Describes Gen Gerasimov as an “unsmiling, craggy bruiser”, having played a key role in the annexe Crimea military campaigns.
Nikolai Patrushev- Secretary of the Security Council
Nikolai Patrushev has been at the forefront of military planning for Ukraine since last month, organising military drills in Belarus.
According to Kremlin watchers, the president trusts information he receives from the security services more than any other source. Alexander Bortnikov is part of Putin’s inner circle.