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The Daily Vertical: Putin's Day Of The Long Knives (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

You could call it the day of the long knives. You could call it Kremlin musical chairs. Or you could call it Vladimir Putin's own personal Game Of Thrones -- minus the beheadings, of course.

But whatever you call it, when all the dust had cleared yesterday, four regional governors, four federal district heads, a disgraced customs chief, and Russia's ambassador to Ukraine had been replaced in a massive reshuffling.

And the big winner? Well, that would be the security services and in particular the FSB.

"Siloviki" veterans walked away with most of the key posts.

And this should come as no surprise. Because yesterday's reshuffling came on the heels of a series of high-profile corruption cases targeting governors, the Investigative Committee, and the Federal Customs Service -- all spearheaded by none other than the FSB.

Now, there are a lot of moving parts here and --trust me -- the minutiae in all this will make your head spin, so I won't get into it here.

But as far as the big picture is concerned, I see three things happening.

First, there appears to be part of a partial purge of the elite under way in advance of September's elections as the Kremlin learns it can no longer afford the deadly combination of both corruption and mismanagement.

At the same time, Putin is putting reliable siloviki veterans in charge of key regions to handle any potential unrest.

And finally, within this context, various clans within the security services are using the situation to jockey for advantage.

What it all suggests is that despite appearances of total control, this is a regime that is anything but confident of its grip on power.

Keep telling me what you think in the comments section, on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed, and on our Facebook page.

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