Governing Incompetence of the Siloviki

The Russian intelligence service veterans termed “Siloviki” who became self-dealing oligarchs, or “Silovarchs,”1 have all but destroyed the KGB-FSB-SVR-GRU brands with their incompetence.

A metaphorical meme for Putin’s war on Ukraine could be Tom Clancy’s “Hunt for the Red October” scene in which the Lithuanian-born (today he could be Ukrainian) Captain Marko Ramius of the Red October head slams the smug, militarily unnecessary, and parasitic political officer (interestingly scripted with the name Putin) who had been spying on the Red October for the KGB.

Today, a former comedian leads Ukraine on a hard road to freedom, a leader in his own right reminiscent of a combination of the surveyor who led the Americans, and a poet who led the Czechs, to freedom. This while out-leading a former KGB major whose every photo-shoot in macho situations to burnish his image as a “great man” should be causing him great social discomfort by now.

Incompetence here means that the ill-trained, ill-prepared, and unconscionably deceived Russian military forces staged in telegraphed folly all about Ukraine for months are falling like flies in a hard freeze while the Russians’ non-suicidal military deterrent crumbles having been puffed but not prepared.

The entire national security state of leadership elites including Putin failed utterly to plan and prepare for what they ordered done. How could that be? Because they were thoroughly corrupt as in Soviet times wishing to lavish the fruits of capitalism on themselves while subjecting the majority of Russians to regimens of servitude and poverty of which Putin is in part a product who forgot where he came from.

In Stalin’s time, despite seeing their experienced officers murdered by their dear leader, ill-equipping, ill-supply, and deep losses due to same affecting Russian demography even today, the Red Army plugged along until Western Lend Lease gave them critical supplies on which to survive while God gave the Nazis a brutal winter likely to save the good children of Russia, not Stalin.

Today, Russians must be better informed that they need not coddle parasitic rulers (whether extreme nationalists or cynical, corrupt spies) preying on their families and future to remain palace-dwelling legends in their own minds while others watch the loves of their lives march off to unnecessary war against those in a land they used to visit freely.

1 Daniel Treisman, Putin’s Silovarchs, Orbis, Volume 51, Issue 1, 2007, Pages 141-153, (

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