||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (July 2013)|
Silovik (Russian: силови́к, IPA: [sʲɪlɐˈvʲik]; plural: siloviki, Russian: силовики́, IPA: [sʲɪləvʲɪˈkʲi]) is a Russian word for politicians from the security or military services, often the officers of the former KGB, GRU, FSB, SVR the Federal Narcotics Control Service or other security services who came into power. It can also refer to security-service personnel from any country or nationality.
The term, literally translated as "people of force" (from сила, "force"), comes from the term "structures of force", which appeared in the earlier Boris Yeltsin era (early 1990s) to denote the military-style uniformed services, including the military proper, police (Ministry of Interior), national security (KGB/FSB) and some other structures. These "structures of force" formed a de facto higher level inner cabinet under Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. The term is occasionally translated as "strongman" but is not as accurate in that it obscures their particular career backgrounds.
Siloviki wish to encourage a view that they might be seen in Russia as being generally non-ideological and honest, with a pragmatic law-and-order focus and Russian national interests at heart. They are generally well-educated and bring past commercial experience to their government posts. It is assumed that the siloviki have a natural preference for the reemergence of a strong Russian state and may be less sensitive towards certain aspects of the democratic system, which in turn makes many people consider them as the pro-Chinese faction.
The siloviki do not form a cohesive group. They do not have a single leader and there is no common, articulated "silovik agenda". However, according to John P. Willerton, these security-intelligence officials brought the work ethic and skills - that Putin apparently favoured - to the administration.
Persons and positions
Senior siloviki under Putin's presidency included Sergei Ivanov, Viktor Ivanov and Igor Sechin, who had close working relationships with Putin and held key positions in Putin's governments. Willerton points out, however, that it is difficult to assess if their common security-intelligence background translates into common political preferences.
Following the 2011 Russian protests, Russian president Dmitri Medvedev, having made promises of political reform, nevertheless appointed several siloviki to prominent positions in the government: Sergei Ivanov to chief of staff of the presidential administration; Dmitry Rogozin to deputy prime minister; and Vyacheslav Volodin to deputy chief of staff.
- Willerton, John (2005). "Putin and the Hegemonic Presidency". In White, Gitelman, Sakwa. Developments in Russian Politics 6. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3522-0.
- Andrew E. Kramer (December 28, 2011). "Political Promotions in Russia Appear to Belie President’s Promise of Reform". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- "The making of a neo-KGB state". The Economist (The Economist Newspaper Limited). 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2007-08-24.
- William Safire on the Siloviki
- The Siloviki in Putin's Russia: Who They Are and What They Want, Washington Quarterly, Winter 2007
- The Exile on Russia's brewing "Silovik war"