A look inside the Russian president’s inner circle

Vladimir Putin’s closest aides find themselves in positions of power in Russia and have the same wary view of the West

It is Day 8 and Russian troops have continued their war against Ukraine, bombing a nuclear power plant even as the two sides negotiate safe corridors to evacuate citizens safely.

Even as Western countries continue to condemn Russian Vladimir Putin, the Russian strongman refused to back down and ordered his troops to push further into Ukraine – all the way to Kiev.

Follow all live updates on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict here

In fact, on Thursday, Vladimir Putin, according to a Associated Press report, told French President Emmanuel Macron that he was determined to continue his attack “to the end”.

As the invasion continues, wreaking havoc, causing loss of life and also changing the face of Europe, let’s take a look at Putin’s inner circle and the men advising him in this offensive.

Sergei Lavrov
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Sergei Lavrov does not mince his words when he defends what he considers to be Moscow’s interests, and this style must please Russian President Vladimir Putin. PA

The 71-year-old has been part of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle for years and has served as Russia’s foreign minister for the past 18 years.

A seasoned diplomat, he is known as a cunning and tough operator and has been the face of Russia’s diplomatic efforts throughout the Ukraine crisis.

Lavrov’s tenure as foreign minister is right after that of Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko, who served for 28 years. Like Gromyko, nicknamed M. Nyet {M. No}, Lavrov has become the uncompromising face of the Kremlin’s foreign policy towards the West.

the Associated Press in a report on Lavrov said: He doesn’t mince words when defending what he sees as Moscow’s interests, and that style must appeal to the tough-talking Russian president.

He expressed his anger against the West, portraying the United States as arrogant, conceited, treacherous and determined to dominate the world. He scornfully dismissed Western allies as stooges to Washington’s line to deter Russia.

Lavrov doesn’t bother to hide his irritation from the media at what he perceives to be their naïve or provocative questions, often responding with an air of contempt or outright mockery.

When a CNN In a video call from the Ukrainian capital, a reporter asked Lavrov if Moscow wanted to overthrow the Ukrainian leadership, an angry Lavrov replied: “He is discourteous. He works in Ukraine now. He is infected with rudeness.

On Thursday, he accused Western politicians of focusing on nuclear war. “I want to emphasize that it is in the heads of Western politicians that the idea of ​​nuclear war constantly swirls, and not in the heads of Russians,” he said.

“Therefore, I assure you that we will not allow any provocation to throw us off balance,” Lavrov added.

He also compared the United States to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and German dictator Adolf Hitler.
“In their time, Napoleon and Hitler made it their task to subjugate Europe. Now the Americans have subjugated it,” Lavrov said.

Vladimir Medinsky
Russian Presidential Assistant

All Vladimir Putin's Men A Look at the Russian President's Inner Circle

Now Putin’s presidential aide, Vladimir Medinsky came under fire in 2017 after being accused of plagiarism. PA

Former Russian Minister of Culture and currently Presidential Assistant to Putin, Vladimir Medinsky is the head of the Russian delegation which talks with Ukraine in Belarus.

Ahead of the second round of talks on Thursday, Medinsky reportedly told the Russian state agency RIA-Novosti“We absolutely want to reach some kind of agreement as soon as possible, even if it must be in the interests of both parties.”

Appointed Russian Minister of Culture in 2012, he was ousted in 2020 and replaced by Olga Lyubimova.

According to Free Radio Europe website, Medinsky “has helped lead the charge against art that conservative activists regard as so-called ‘gay propaganda’.”

In 2017, he came under fire after being accused of plagiarism when a Russian academic council recommended revoking his 2011 doctorate which focused on “problems of objectivity” in covering Russian history from the 15th to 17th centuries. . He was later cleared of the charge.

When asked why he was appointed to head the Russian delegation on the Ukrainian issue, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said CASSthat he possessed certain commercial qualities and that he was good at the most in-depth expert analysis.

This statement is proof of Putin’s confidence in his help and his abilities, despite his ousting from the government.

Sergei Shoigu
Defense Minister

All Vladimir Putin's Men A Look at the Russian President's Inner Circle

Sergei Shoigu is a close associate of Putin; they go together on widely publicized hunting and shooting expeditions in Siberia. Pictured are Vladimir Putin (R) and Albert II, Prince of Monaco (centre) with Sergei Shoigu (left). AFP

Sergei Shoigu, from the Tuva region of Russia, was appointed defense minister in 2012. It was a surprising choice, as he had no military training or combat experience.

He was credited with the military seizure of Crimea in 2014. He was also in charge of the military intelligence agency GRU, accused of two nerve agent poisonings – the deadly 2018 attack in Salisbury in the UK and the near-deadly attack on the Leader of the Opposition. Alexei Navalny in Siberia 2020.

Shoigu is a close associate of Putin; they go together on widely publicized hunting and shooting expeditions in Siberia.

He is also one of those sanctioned by the European Union since the start of the offensive. The EU said that under the “command and orders of Shoigu, Russian troops held military exercises in illegally annexed Crimea and were positioned on the border”. He is ultimately responsible for any military action against Ukraine.

Valery Gerasimov
Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces

All Vladimir Putin's Men A Look at the Russian President's Inner Circle

Valery Gerasimov has played a major role in Vladimir Putin’s military campaigns since he commanded an army in the Chechnya war in 1999. AFP

Gerasimov was appointed Chief of the General Staff following the dismissal of Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov on November 6, 2012.

He has played a major role in Vladimir Putin’s military campaigns since he commanded an army in the 1999 Chechen war, and he has also been at the forefront of military planning for Ukraine, overseeing military exercises in Belarus last month.

He is also credited with creating the Gerasimov Doctrine – which is a mixture of tactics developed by the Soviets, as well as military-strategic thinking about total warfare, leading to a new theory of modern warfare – a theory that looks more like to a hacking of an enemy’s company. than to attack it head-on.

In February 2013, he published a 2,000-word article, “The Value of Science Is in the Foresight”, in the Russian weekly. Kurier military-industrial in which he wrote: “The ‘rules of war’ themselves have changed. The role of non-military means in achieving political and strategic objectives has increased and in many cases they have surpassed the power of force of arms in their effectiveness. .. All this is supplemented by military means of a concealed nature.

Nikolai Patrushev
Head of the Security Council of Russia

All of Vladimir Putin's Men A Look at the Russian President's Inner Circle

Nikolai Patrushev served in the KGB with Vladimir Putin. AFP

Patrushev has served as Secretary of Russia’s Security Council since 2008. He is a Putin loyalist and has been with him since the 1970s in St. Petersburg.

Patrushev served in the KGB with Vladimir Putin and also headed its successor organization, the FSB, from 1999 to 2008.

He told Russian newspaper Kommersant in 2015 that “the United States would rather Russia not exist as a country at all.”

Alexander Bortnikov
Director of the Federal Security Service {FSB}

All of Vladimir Putin's Men A Look at the Russian President's Inner Circle

Alexander Bortnikov is one of Putin’s most loyal and trusted aides among the siloviki, or strongmen, at the top of the ministries of power. AFP

Bortnikov was the head of Russia’s all-powerful Federal Security Service (FSB) for a long time.

Reports indicate that Bortnikov is one of Putin’s most loyal and trusted aides among the siloviki, or strongmen, at the top of power ministries. He turned the FSB into the “punishing {and lethal} sword” of the Putin regime.

Sky News reports that Bortnikov is responsible for the tens of thousands of detentions and the dramatic tightening of restrictions on civil society that has accelerated over the past year.

Sergei Narichkin
Director of Foreign Intelligence Service {SVR}

All of Vladimir Putin's Men A Look at the Russian President's Inner Circle

Sergei Naryshkin met Putin during their spy training days and was deployed to Brussels as a diplomat at the same time Putin was sent as a young spy to Dresden. AFP

Naryshkin has served as director of the foreign intelligence service since 2016. Naryshkin, Russia’s foreign spy chief, has remained with the president for much of his career.

Naryshkin met Putin during their spy training days and was deployed to Brussels as a diplomat at the same time Putin was sent as a young spy to Dresden.

However, it appears that ties with Putin are currently on rocky ground.

Recently, a video emerged showing Putin lashing out at Naryshkin, telling him twice to ‘speak straight’ when discussing whether he supported the decision to recognize two Kremlin-backed breakaway regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, as as independent states, rather than as part of Ukraine. because they are internationally recognized.

With contributions from agencies

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