Nikolai Patrushev

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"...Kyiv is obsequiously serving the interests of its overseas patrons, striving to get into NATO. But was the ousted pro-American regime in Kabul saved by the fact that Afghanistan had the status of a principal U.S. ally outside NATO? (No). A similar situation awaits supporters of the American choice in Ukraine." [36]

In early November 2021, CIA Director William Burns and U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan met in Moscow with Patrushev and informed him that they knew about Russia's invasion plans. [37] Burns warned that if Putin proceeded down this path, the West would respond with severe consequences for Russia. Sullivan recounted that Patrushev was undeterred and "supremely confident" that the invasion was going to succeed. [38] However, in late January 2022, just before the invasion, Patrushev publicly denied that Russia was prepared to attack Ukraine. [39] [40]

Kyiv after Russian shelling on 14 March 2022. Patrushev played a key role in Putin's decision to invade Ukraine. House on Bohatyrska Street after shelling of 14 March 2022 (01).jpg
Kyiv after Russian shelling on 14 March 2022. Patrushev played a key role in Putin's decision to invade Ukraine.

Sources say Putin's decision to invade Ukraine was influenced by a small group of war hawks around him, [41] including Patrushev and Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. [42] According to Putin-regime expert Catherine Belton, it was "Patrushev who's always been the leading ideologue of using capitalism as a tool to undermine the West to buy off and corrupt officials and so on. And he's certainly very much painted the West as a hostile enemy of Russia and something which is kind of debauched and decrepit, and it's time to attack [Ukraine in 2022]." [43] According to sources close to the Kremlin, most of Putin's close advisers opposed the invasion, and even Patrushev advised Putin to give diplomacy another chance three days before the invasion, but Putin overruled them all. [44]

On 26 April 2022, after two months of war, Patrushev predicted that Ukraine would collapse and be broken into several states because of what he cast as a U.S. attempt to use Kyiv to undermine Russia. He repeated the "denazification" trope and claimed:

"Using their henchmen in Kyiv, the Americans, in an attempt to suppress Russia, decided to create an antipode of our country, cynically choosing Ukraine for this, trying to divide essentially a single people. The result of the policy of the West and the regime in Kyiv can only be the disintegration of Ukraine into several states." [45]

Patrushev claimed that "Ukraine, saturated with weapons, poses a threat to Russia". [46] He downplayed the sanctions against Russia and said that "Russia is reorienting itself away from the European market to the African, Asian and Latin American markets." [46]

In April 2022, he addressed the global food crisis, caused in part by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying that "Tens of millions of people in Africa or the Middle East, through the fault of the West, will be on the verge of starvation. To survive, they will rush to Europe. I'm not sure that Europe will survive the crisis." [46]

Photos of Ukrainian soldiers who died during the Russo-Ukrainian War. Patrushev accused the West of wanting to "fight to the last Ukrainian". Wall of Remembrance, Kyiv 2019, 01.jpg
Photos of Ukrainian soldiers who died during the Russo-Ukrainian War. Patrushev accused the West of wanting to "fight to the last Ukrainian".

In May 2022, he speculated that Poland "is already taking actions related to the seizure of western Ukrainian territories." [46] He claimed that the West "has already revived the shadow market for the purchase of human organs from the socially vulnerable segments of the Ukrainian population for clandestine transplant operations for European patients." [47]

On 17 August 2022, Patrushev met with Narendra Modi's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to discuss measures to strengthen the strategic partnership across sectors including defense ties and energy security. Russia appreciated India's neutral position on Ukraine. [48]

In October 2022, Patrushev accused the United States and its allies of wanting to "fight to the last Ukrainian". [46] He said that Anglo-Saxons "are exploiting Ukraine as an instrument of struggle with our country ... The goal is to suppress Russia, retain their imaginary supremacy, keep their unipolar world, ensure themselves the opportunity to live at the expense of others. [46]

In November 2022, Patrushev accused the West of inciting Ukraine to attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and of assisting in the production of a "dirty bomb". He also accused the United States of wanting to recruit terrorists from Afghanistan and use them in the fight against Russia in Ukraine. He claimed that the West wants to destabilize the world to maintain its global dominance, saying that the "reckless policy of Washington, London, and their allies resulted in bloody adventures in the Balkans, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine, which have already claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people." [49]

In January 2023, he claimed that Russia was fighting NATO in Ukraine and that the West was trying to destroy Russia. [50]

In February 2023, during a meeting with CCP Politburo member Wang Yi in Moscow, Patrushev claimed that "the bloody events in Ukraine staged by the West" are just one example of the West's attempts to maintain its global dominance. [33]

In May 2023, Patrushev blamed the United States and Ukraine for the number of attacks in western Russia and said that "the terrorist attacks committed in Russia are accompanied by an information campaign prepared in advance in Washington and London, designed to destabilise the socio-political situation, and to undermine the constitutional foundations and sovereignty of Russia." [51]

On 15 September 2023, Patrushev claimed that Russia had identified and "neutralized" hundreds of foreign spies in recent years. [52]

In September 2023, he met the Chinese foreign minister in Moscow for the annual security talks. [53] On 10 October 2023, he arrived in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. [54]

On 22 December 2023, The Wall Street Journal cited sources within the Western and Russian intelligence agencies as saying that the Wagner Group plane crash was orchestrated by Patrushev. [55] The paper alleged that Patrushev presented to Putin a plan to assassinate Yevgeny Prigozhin in August 2023, which led to intelligence officials inserting a bomb under the wing of Prigozhin's plane during pre-departure safety checks. [56]


Patrushev at a meeting of Vladimir Putin with senior officers and prosecutors in April 2015 Vstrecha s ofitserami i prokurorami, naznachennymi na vyshestoiashchie dolzhnosti 2.jpg
Patrushev at a meeting of Vladimir Putin with senior officers and prosecutors in April 2015

After the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Patrushev was placed on the European Union's list of sanctioned individuals in Russia. [57]

Sanctioned by the UK government in 2014 in relation to Russo-Ukrainian War. [58]

In April 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on him and 23 other Russian nationals. [59] [60]

Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States imposed sanctions against Andrey Patrushev, son of Nikolai Patrushev. [61]

Sanctioned by New Zealand in relation to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. [62]

Political views

A meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission of Russia on 19 September 2015 Military-Industrial Commission of Russia (19-09-2015).jpg
A meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission of Russia on 19 September 2015
Patrushev with Argentine President Mauricio Macri on 5 December 2017. Patrushev promoted friendly relations between Russia and non-Western countries. Nikolay Patrushev in Argentina 02.jpg
Patrushev with Argentine President Mauricio Macri on 5 December 2017. Patrushev promoted friendly relations between Russia and non-Western countries.
Patrushev and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, India on 29 March 2023 Narendra Modi and Nikolai Patrushev (2023-03-29).jpg
Patrushev and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, India on 29 March 2023

Patrushev belongs to the siloviki of Putin's inner circle. [63] [lower-alpha 1] Mark Galeotti, an expert in the field of Russian politics and security, said that Patrushev, one of Putin's closest advisers, is the "most dangerous man in Russia" because of his "paranoid conspiracy-driven mindset." [47] [64] For his ability to control information reaching Putin, Galeotti compared him to Sir Humphrey from the British television series Yes Minister . [5] According to Andrey Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Patrushev speaks for Putin and is "allowed to explain and clarify Putin's thoughts." [46]

In December 2000, on the anniversary of the founding of the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, an interview with him was published in a Russian national daily. In defence of the emerging trend of co-opting officers in the security and intelligence apparatus into high government posts, Patrushev noted that his FSB colleagues did not "work for money [...] [they] are, if you will, modern 'neo-nobility'." ("современные «неодворяне»") [65] [66] The term "new nobility" gained currency afterwards, as in the eponymous book The New Nobility . [67] [68]

Ben Noble, Associate Professor of Russian Politics at University College London, describes Patrushev as "the most hawkish hawk, thinking the West has been out to get Russia for years". [69] He was quoted as saying, "The Americans believe that we control [our natural resources] illegally and undeservedly because, in their view, we do not use them as they ought to be used." [17] Patrushev has referenced "Madeleine Albright's claim 'that neither the Far East nor Siberia belong to Russia.'" According to the New York Times , this remark can be traced back to a psychic employed by the FSB who claimed to have read the thoughts in Albright's mind while in a state of trance. [70] [71] In June 2020, he said that a "shameful page in history for all NATO countries was and will forever remain the barbaric" NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. [46]

Patrushev believes in various conspiracy theories and often gives interviews to state-controlled media in Russia. [47] In April 2022, he said that Washington "tried to force Russia to give up sovereignty, self-consciousness, culture, an independent foreign and domestic policy." [46] He claimed that the West is seeking to reduce "the world's population in various ways," including creating "an empire of lies, involving the humiliation and destruction of Russia and other objectionable states." [47] In June 2022, he accused the United States, Britain, the EU and Japan of an "increasingly adventurous and aggressive policy" that "is based on a complete detachment from reality, the desire to construct their own imaginary world, which they will rule. Such an escape from reality is a real threat to all of humanity." [46] In his interview in an official government paper Rossiyskaya Gazeta , he said that the Russo-Ukrainian War is only part of a wider war with NATO and the "collective West". [5] He warned that Russia "has modern, unique weapons capable of destroying any adversary, including the United States, in the event of a threat to its existence." [5]

According to Russian expert at the Carnegie Center, Alexander Sorkin, Patrushev and FSB director Alexander Bortnikov were formed by the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union and "believe that a bloc confrontation with the West is a reasonable and correct world order. And in order to return to a predictable and manageable confrontation, it is necessary to divide the zones of influence through war, even with the risk of a clash with NATO. According to Patrushev and Bortnikov, Ukraine should be in the Russian zone of influence". [41]

Personal life

Putin with Dmitry Patrushev on 11 September 2019 Vladimir Putin and Dmitriy Patrushev 2019.jpg
Putin with Dmitry Patrushev on 11 September 2019

His eldest son, Dmitry, is a banker and the Minister of Agriculture of Russia since 18 May 2018. [72] His younger son, Andrey, graduated in 2003 from the FSB Academy where he studied law with his classmate Pavel Fradkov, who is the son of Mikhail Fradkov, and has worked in leadership roles at Gazprom Neft. [73] [74] [75]

In January 2007, Nikolai Patrushev and his brother, Viktor Platonovich Patrushev (Russian : Виктор Платонович Патрушев), joined the expedition of polar explorer Arthur Chilingarov, that flew on two helicopters to Antarctica and visited the South Pole and the Amundsen-Scott station. [76] [77]

Honours and awards

See also


  1. Other siloviki close to Patrushev include Igor Sechin, Alexander Bortnikov, and Viktor Ivanov. [63]

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Nikolai Patrushev
Николай Патрушев
Nikolay Patrushev 2019.jpg
Patrushev in 2019
Secretary of the Security Council of Russia
Assumed office
12 May 2008
Government offices
Preceded by Head of the Internal Security Department of FSB
1994 – 31 May 1998
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief of the Control Directorate of the Russian presidential administration
31 May 1998 – October 1998
Succeeded by
Preceded by Director of FSB
9 August 1999 – 12 May 2008
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of Security Council of Russia
12 May 2008–present