Putin’s confidence and his inner circle in politicians and civil servants seems to have seriously eroded. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, many have wanted to leave their posts, but the government fears “chaos” and a “loss of control”. The Kremlin now prohibits high-ranking officials, politicians and intelligence officers from resigning.
The Russian authorities have recently taken measures to prevent intelligence officers and other senior officials such as governors from (en masse) resigning. Employees who consider resigning are threatened with prosecution by the authorities, according to Russian investigative medium iStories, citing sources close to the presidential administration.
The reason for the dismissal ban is said to be the fear of chaos if too many people leave their key positions. “Many are willing to pay a high price for the opportunity to leave quietly and discreetly now,” said one of the sources. “If everyone leaves, control is completely lost,” says the Kremlin’s logic.
According to a person close to the presidential administration, a request for resignation by the Kremlin would also be seen as a sign of betrayal – after all, officials have been ordered to close ranks.
“I know of at least two governors who have tried to leave their posts. However, they were not only banned from doing so by the internal policy department of the presidential administration, but also threatened with prosecution,” said a former FSB official.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, claims that no such ban exists. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told the Russian state news agency ‘Ria Novosti’ that it is a “false rumour”.
The Kremlin has also imposed strict travel restrictions on senior officials, parliamentarians, governors and top executives of state-owned companies. In this way, the Russian authorities want to prevent important pawns from defecting.
“No one is allowed to go anywhere without special permission,” a senior government official told The Moscow Times. The security services also keep a special list of those who need separate permits to leave the country.
“Sometimes Putin himself has to review all these lists and find out who is going abroad and for what purpose,” a Kremlin official and old acquaintance of the president has told The Moscow Times.
In April, the Russian president already passed stricter laws against treason, sabotage and terrorism.
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