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Inside Kremlin’s Inner Circle: Who’s Who of Vladimir Putin’s Army

Vladimir Putin: While some call him a modern-day Hitler, former US president Barack Obama described him as a 'backbencher kid in a classroom.' However, for former US President Donald Trump, Putin is smart. All these metaphors have one thing in common: POWER.

Updated: February 28, 2022 2:42 PM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Surabhi Shaurya

Inside Kremlin's Inner Circle: Who's Who of Vladimir Putin's Army
Valery Gerasimov and Vladimir Putin (

New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin has been hogging the limelight ever since he launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, forcing Ukrainians to flee seeking a safe haven. While some call him a modern-day Hitler, former US president Barack Obama described him as a ‘backbencher kid in a classroom.’ However, for former US President Donald Trump, Putin is smart. All these metaphors have one thing in common: POWER. Born in 1952 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Putin had also worked as a KGB spy in East Germany before taking the plunge into politics. He is one of the most influential leaders in the world. And so are his associates in his inner circles—most of whom ascended through the ranks of the KGB as the Russian president did. Putin’s inner circle has top Russian military commanders from its navy, air force, and ground forces. The list also encompasses TV presenters, banking executives among others.

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Take a look at the people who make up Putin’s inner circle:-

Siloviki: Topping the list is Siloviki – the security men around Putin. In Russian, the term silovik defines a politician who came into politics from the security, military, or similar services. They regard Ukraine as a US proxy and see Russia’s move (of invasion) as a necessary step in preventing the US from destroying the Russian state. Their impact has adversely heightened in the last few years as Putin has shifted his focus from economic and social issues towards perceived security-related threats.

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Nikolai Patrushev

Nikolai Patrushev: Born on July 11, 1951, Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev is a Russian politician, security officer, and intelligence officer. He had served as Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is the main successor organization to the Soviet KGB (excluding foreign intelligence), from 1999 to 2008, and he has been Secretary of the Security Council of Russia since 2008. In 2015, he had told Russia’s Kommersant newspaper that “the US would prefer Russia not to exist at all as a country”.

Alexander Vasilyevich Bortnikov

Alexander Vasilyevich Bortnikov: He has been Director of the FSB (Russia’s domestic intelligence agency and successor to the Soviet spy agency, the KGB) since 12 May 2008. He belongs to the Siloviki of Putin’s inner circle.

Sergei Naryshkin

Sergei Naryshkin: He has served as the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service since 2016. Previously, he was Chairman of the State Duma (2011–2016) and Kremlin Chief of Staff (2008–2012). He was also chairman of the Historical Truth Commission in May 2009 until it was dissolved in February 2012. Last week, Naryshkin had hit the limelight after Putin snapped at him. In a video that went viral, Putin was seen telling him “speak directly” when deliberating whether he supported the decision to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk, as independent states, rather than as part of Ukraine.

Sergei Shoigu: Shoigu is a General of the Russian Army who serves as Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation. Since 2012, Shoigu is Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Defense of the CIS. Previously, Shoigu was Minister of Emergency Situations from 1991 to 2012, and briefly served as Governor of Moscow Oblast in 2012. He was awarded Russia’s most prestigious state award – Hero of the Russian Federation – in 1999.

Valery Gerasimov and Vladimir Putin (

Valery Gerasimov: He is the Chief of The General Staff of the Armed Forces, and the first Deputy Defence Minister replacing Nikolay Makarov. Putin had appointed him on November 9, 2012. Wikipedia said Gerasimov is the strategist alleged to have conceived the ‘Gerasimov doctrine’— combining military, technological, information, diplomatic, economic, cultural and other tactics for the purpose of achieving strategic goals. Earlier on Sunday, Putin held a meeting with Shoigu and Gerasimov in Moscow and asked them to put deterrence forces on high alert. He said leaders of major NATO countries have made “aggressive statements” about Russia.

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