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The Putin Regime in Russia: The Intersection of Autocracy, Plutocracy, and Criminality

C/O Futures Dark Globalization Research Note Series Robert J. Bunker and Kevin Hammill

2 August 2022

The rise of rampant criminality in Russia—initially operating at both the lower to moderate levels of society and exemplified by organized criminal groups (the Vory)—and the concomitant emergence of a plutocracy—operating at the higher levels of society and exemplified by the oligarchs—were both precipitated by the implosion of the Soviet Union in December 1991. The wealth and power accumulation of these two groups resulted from the structural void left by the immense weakening of sovereign state institutions under the transitional Boris Yeltsin administration spanning mid-1991 through the end of 1999. With the rise of the Putin regime in early 2000, the Russian state immediately began the path of reasserting authority over the criminal and business elites (often the same individuals) who were operating with immense levels of societal impunity. The subordination of criminals and plutocrats to the needs and dictates of the Russian state—co-opted itself by Putin along with former KGB (and successor FSB; Federal Security Service) officials and other friends and associates—signifies the rise of a new form of authoritarianism. This new form is reminiscent of pre-revolutionary czarist-like power structures but also draws upon the Soviet experience (and its highly developed secret police institutions) making it increasingly well suited to the realities of 21st century conflict...

The Putin Regime in Russia Bunker Hammill
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