The Moscow Times on the latest gubernatorial appointments in Russia:
In a matter of hours, Putin replaced four governors, four envoys and an ambassador with men with security services backgrounds.
It would have been major news 15 ago. By 2016, a governor or a regional “envoy” without an intelligence background had become a rarity.
Indeed, as political analyst Yekaterina Schulmann notes, the trend has been clear for the past 15 years: “Men with backgrounds in military or security services have been a constant presence in the first echelon of Russian officialdom, including governorship.”
What’s new then? The new appointees are younger than their predecessors – 45 to 50 years old rather than 60-plus. What about their career record?
Commentator Stanislav Belkovsky puts it bluntly enough: “All the figures appointed today are Putin’s personal bodyguards.”
Not exactly but pretty close. Does it mean there’s nobody else left to trust?
Yeltsin’s chief bodyguard, Alexander Korzhakov, briefly rose to prominence in the 1990s, but got sacked in 1996 and had never held a major government post anyway.