Visualizing The Kremlin Clans

Can you tell your siloviki from your civiliki? MVD, FSB or GRU? The breeds of dog underneath those Churchillian carpets? If not, maybe this will help.

In August 2010, I translated the introduction to political pundit Vladimir Pribylovsky’s recent book ВЛАСТЬ-2010: 60 биографий (Power in 2010: 60 biographies). The resulting Phantom Tandem, Real Triumvirate and the Kremlin Clan Wars is a useful, if a tad obdurate, primer on “who’s who” in today’s Kremlin.

In collaboration with A Good Treaty, we have created three tables listing the biggest players in the “Kremlin clans” according to Pribylovsky (to the extent they exist: see my comments to the original translation). There have been few changes until today, January 2011. The biggest was the replacement of Sergey Bogdanchikov by Eduard Khudaynatov as President of Rosneft.

We hope that it will be of use to all Russia watchers, amateur and expert alike.


Pribylovsky (2010)


The Sechin Clan (“siloviki”)




The Medvedev Coalition (“civiliki”)




“Putin’s People”




These classifications aren’t the only ones in existence: of particular note


Stratfor (2010)



eXile (2007)



But do take all this Byzantinism with a grain of salt. 😉


UPDATE, May 31st, 2012:

Russian Reporter (2011, 2012)

According to a graph analysis by Russian Reporter, the Putin era saw a diminution of alternate centers of power within the power elites. However, 2012 saw an Anti-Clan Revolution, as the Putin – Medvedev clan got compressed in on itself by unconnected newcomers.

2000 Social Net



2011 Social Net



2012 Social Net – The Anti-Clan Revolution



Is this then the end of the Kremlin clans?


  1. Mark Sleboda/the Scythian says:

    Interested as to why you decided to place Sergei Ivanov in the civiliki, when most other accounts place him (as a former security service official) within Putin’s inner circle or within Sechin’s clan (Stratfor)? Also what is your rationale for including a division between a ‘Putin clan’ and a ‘Sechin clan’ – what is the demarcker?

    • We didn’t place anyone – these groupings are based on Pribylovsky’s. The translation of his introductory chapter to Power In 2010 is here

      Sergey Ivanov is part of Cherkesov’s clan (re-Pribylovsky). This clan has silovik roots, like Sechin’s, but the two are unfriendly towards each other.

  2. It’s an excellent and well done visual presentation of the power networks in today’s Russia – thank you for putting this together.

  3. Usmanov looks like Jabba the Hutt. Too much plov.

  4. Alexander G says:

    Question: Between Putin’s two clans (civilviki vs. siloviki), which one is closer and more open to economic integration with Germany? Or, are they the same in their feelings towards Germany?

    I really learn a lot from this blog. Perhaps you could write more on German/Russian economic and military cooperation. Will they form a power block and challenge American-British-Israeli influence?

    In the US, there are people who fear this possibility. They, of course, will cause havoc in the geography starting from the Baltic States in the north, straight down to the Balkans in the South. Poland is obviously the strategic imperative (IOW a Russo-German block will have to make the Poles a better deal than the US-British-Israeli power block and vis versa).

    Can a German/Russian alliance provide a better deal to Poland than the US-British-Israeli power block?

    Compare and contrast what each block can provide for Poland?

    What about political ideology within these power blocks? How will they differ?

    Again, thank you for your blog. Your knowledge and perspective on Russia is very valuable to the public.

  5. sinotibetan says:

    Interesting one, Anatoly!
    Will have to examine it further before I comment further. However, thought I’d comment something on a (I presume he/she is) German’s comment.
    “Perhaps you could write more on German/Russian economic and military cooperation. Will they form a power block and challenge American-British-Israeli influence?”
    I think Germany (at least its political elites) want to dominate Europe. A Russia , at its present size, is a threat to German dominance of European politics. German-Russian cooperation will be there because Russia is a haven of natural resources and Germany is Europe’s industrial-economic dynamo. But I don’t think it’s a completely love-in-bed relationship between Germany and Russia. If Russia remains a powerful state, I expect Russia to negotiate terms with Germany more to Russia’s benefit. But should Russia destabilize, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Germany ‘side’ with the USA or the UK in plundering that country for their own self-interests. America wants Russia reduced to a vassal in its pax Americana – something it has failed so far but it will never stop pursuing this goal. Germany will benefit if Russia is reduced to a vassal state – at most equivalent to a Poland or Ukraine – so that it can ‘gobble’ her up into her pan-European dream that remains(till today) a dream in spite of the attempts of Charlemagne, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II and the latest of all Adolf Hitler. What Germany failed to do by military means, it is seeking to do now by political-economic-‘ideological’ means – a smarter/softer method compared to the ‘I’ll gun you down’ methods of the past.
    How Europe will unfold is going to be interesting. It depends on what will happen to America as it slowly declines, what ACTUALLY those European technocrats really want(it’s not democracy but POWER) and what happens to Russia in 2012 – will a strongman be in Russia or a weakling oust the strongman? Interesting times we live in…


    • Alexander G says:

      I’m interested to see how strong the German/Russian relationship will grow?

      Have they learned anything after slaughtering each other last century?

      • I expect it will strengthen over time, since both governments want it.

        Just look at how Germany and Russia faced down the vituperative opposition of the US, Poland, and the Baltic States over the Nord Stream gas pipeline. The USG positively *hated* the thing, since it undercut Ukrainian and Polish leverage over Russia back when both governments were run by Russia-haters (Yushchenko and the two Kaczynkys). We sometimes overlook the strong tradition of German-Russian cooperation, going back to Tauroggen.

  6. sinotibetan says:

    And I suspect the current economic crisis in Europe will enbolden the European technocrats to push for fiscal union of member states and more transfer of power from national governments to the supranational European Union bereaucracy and further loss of national sovereignty – ‘so that we can prevent future economic troubles with a united economic/fiscal policy’. Germany and France and to a lesser extend the UK will be jostling for the title of hegemenon in the coming power structures within Brussels.


  7. sinotibetan says:

    Sergei Ivanov is no civiliki. Definitely siloviki. Rival of Sechin’s group. Siloviks are probably not united but I’m not sure that they are feeling the ‘threat’ of the civiliki as yet. Viktor Zolotov – I think a silovik also, not civiliki.
    Vladislav Surkov ‘the shadow cardinal’ is probably neither – an opportunist and I doubt his ‘loyalty’ towards former ‘patron’ Putin. Probably toying with Putin and his loyalists, civiliki and siloviki but prefers a more ‘easily controlled’ civiliki to rise into power?