President Vladimir Putin, second right, and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, right, visit the Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate in Moscow, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006. Vladimir Putin on Wednesday visited a newly-built Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate, known under its Russian acronym, GRU. (ITAR-TASS, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)
Anders Åslund, Atlantic Council: Only KGB Generals Stand between Putin and Absolute Power
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin rules supreme. On September 18, his United Russia party won its largest-ever majority—enough to change the constitution—in the parliamentary elections. He seems to be running circles around the West in both Ukraine and Syria.
Yet, Russia’s stability must not be overestimated. Last year, retail sales fell by 10 percent and this year by more than 5 percent, reflecting declining living standards, though social protests remain insignificant. But the real source of instability centers on conflicts in the security services. Putin is attempting a major transformation of Russia’s security services and state administration, trying to consolidate his power, but KGB generals in their 60s still dominate the security council and stand in his way.
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WNU Editor: The "KGB" will not stop Putin from obtaining "absolute power" .... they are not that brave to stand up to Putin. It is the Russian people who are (and will) stop Putin if he should go down that road .... and Putin knows that.