The Godfather

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“Putin designed a system of managed conflict,” Nikolay Petrov, scholar at the Moscow Carnegie Center told RFE/RL’s Brian Whitmore. “There is no competition in public. But he created different clans and groups who are fighting against each other.”

“This is the way Putin keeps control over the system. He is an arbiter who keeps the balance among them. It is impossible for him to leave. It is impossible to imagine this system without him because all of the agreements are guaranteed by him,” Petrov stated.

“Without him, all of these clans would fight each other, like after Stalin’s death.” Petrov said. “Russia is also personalistic: although [the clans] play an important role, it is Putin who is the major arbiter and who can even replace them,” he noted.

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