It’s pretty clear to most of us that the prophecies that mention to Gog and/or Magog are referring to Russia and/or a Russian Federation/Empire. What is less clear is how and why such a prophecy could be fulfilled.
3 and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal:
4 and I will turn thee about, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them handling swords;
Having said that, we may not receive much in the way of advance notice of Russia’s attempt to invade Israel, so it’s always good to try and understand the inner workings of the Russian government (aka The Kremlin). If nothing else, it might give us an idea of the motivations behind such a move. And, I believe that we’ve been given a glimpse into the balance of power within the Kremlin, and how an imbalance could precipitate military action.
The key lies in the factionalization of the Russian government.
It’s probably a surprise to most of you that the Kremlin is NOT a monolithic entity that speaks with one voice. We’re used to thinking of dictatorial regimes and societies having very few divided opinions, but this is very rarely the case. And, Russia is providing us a prime example.
Right now, it appears that the Russian government is divided between the militarists (the siloviki) and the non-militarists (the civiliki), and according to STRATFOR, they have been organized into two separate clans by Vladimir Putin. Until now, Putin has been able to balance the one against the other with some success.
For some reason, they’ve become out of balance and Putin has been struggling to put everything back to where they belong. This struggle has allowed us to see just how fragile that balance is, and why we need to be playing careful attention to any saber rattling.
It is also pretty clear that the civiliki are fractured and disunited, while the siloviki are organized and efficient. This means that the non-militarists (the civiliki) will probably lose in any direct conflict with the militarists (the siloviki).
The next question is WHEN these siloviki will make their move and push out the civiliki.
We at least have a NAME for those people inside Gog/Magog who will get hooks in their jaws and launch this war against Israel.
Here are a pair of STRATFOR articles that you can still see for free. (Although, how long they will be available to non-subscribers is anyone’s guess.)
Russia’s political landscape has been relatively calm and consolidated for the past decade under former President and current Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. However, recent months have seen instability rise sharply, with a purge in the government, a shift in parliamentary election results and large protests in the streets. None of these is new to Russia, but these and other factors are converging and creating changes in Russia’s political landscape.
When Putin came to power in 1999, he ruled a country that was in utter political disarray, economically broken and threatened by internal and external forces. He aggressively consolidated the country politically, economically and socially and quashed the security threats. The country rallied around him as Russia’s “savior,” a sentiment that in recent years evolved into a cult based on the belief that Putin is the sole heartbeat of the country.
But Russia cannot survive indefinitely under one ruler; historically, internal dissent has risen and fallen inside the inherently unstable country. Such dissent had been under control for the last decade, allowing the country to strengthen. But now dissent is on the rise again, both outside the Kremlin and within Putin’s circles of power. All of this comes as Russia is facing economic instability and national security concerns, and Russia’s next presidential election — in which Putin is running — is a mere month away.
Kremlin Turmoil and Outside Pressure
The first shift in Russia’s political landscape occurred because Putin’s complex network of clans inside the Kremlin has utterly collapsed. When he came to power, Putin understood that he needed to set up a group of powerful loyalists to help with the aggressive consolidation needed to rebuild a strong Russia while planning a strategy for the future that involved many more liberal policies — two seemingly contradictory goals. This led to the creation of two clans: the security hawks of the siloviki and the more liberal-minded civiliki. The clan-based system in the Kremlin was also meant to keep the two groups in competition with each other so neither would directly challenge Putin’s authority. But the pressures related to a shift in economic policies, economic volatility, a failure in social policy regarding new political groups and personality conflicts all contributed to a massive breakdown in both clans. Putin had to scramble to keep his government functional as his loyalists pursued their own agendas, joined opposition groups or left the government altogether.
One of the issues causing — and prolonging — Russia’s current political instability is the complete breakdown of the Kremlin’s power clans.
When Prime Minister Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999, he began creating a complex organization comprising many ambitious and powerful people to help him rule the country. Putin understood that he would need a mix of people who could handle Russia’s need for tight security and control in the short term but strategize for a more modern and liberal economy in the future — seemingly conflicting aims, but Putin saw both as necessary to address the problems facing the country.
Though there are countless small groups and loyalties among those in the Kremlin, Putin’s system can be divided essentially into two clans — the siloviki and the civiliki. Two very ambitious (and at times ruthless) men ran these clans: Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who ran the siloviki, and Vladislav Surkov, who ran the civiliki and was recently demoted from first deputy chief of staff. Each man controlled large portions of government bureaucracy, state companies and critical instruments of control throughout Russia. It was an arrangement in which two groups with starkly different backgrounds, ideologies and strategies would be played off each other, and Putin’s personal ties to both groups would put him in a position of ultimate power. This allowed him to select which policies to put forward that might not be too appealing to certain elements within the Kremlin. It also kept these ambitious politicians concentrated on each other and not on Putin, who was seen as the great stabilizer.
The siloviki clan primarily consists of security hawks and former operatives with the KGB (now known as the Federal Security Service, or FSB) — like Putin. The siloviki primarily fall under the control of Sechin, who played a major role in centralizing the Russian economy and ousting foreign influence over the past decade. Political power brokers like National Security Chief Nikolai Patrushev, Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov (who has since been removed from his position) and NATO envoy Dmitri Rogozin bolstered Sechin’s strength. The siloviki’s goal has been to create a tightly controlled, globally strong Russia at the expense of individual rights and democracy. Over the past decade, the siloviki arguably have been the stronger of the two clans, implementing policies of consolidation in Russian business, uniting politically under one party (United Russia) and aggressively pushing Russian influence into Moscow’s former Soviet sphere.
The siloviki’s rival clan, the loosely organized civiliki, comprises liberal-minded economists, social strategists and non-KGB-linked politicians who worked with Putin in St. Petersburg in the 1990s. The civiliki are not as consolidated in their views as the siloviki; essentially, the factor uniting them is that they are not siloviki. Though the civiliki clan has evolved during the past decade, Vladislav Surkov — who exerts most of his power behind the scenes and who has worked closely with Sechin in the past — has run it recently. Although their agendas vary, the civiliki primarily want to create more liberal and complex financial, economic and social policies for Russia — not really pro-Western policies, but policies that are more focused on social and economic needs than security. Though sidelined for most of the 2000s, at the end of the previous decade the civiliki’s plans started to gain prominence.