Control Over the Security Services in Periods of Political Uncertainty: A Comparative Study of Russia and China

In: Russian Politics
Nikolay Petrov Higher School of Economics, Moscow

Search for other papers by Nikolay Petrov in
Current site
Google Scholar
Michael Rochlitz University of Bremen,

Search for other papers by Michael Rochlitz in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


Control over the security services is a key ingredient of political survival in authoritarian regimes. This is particularly true during periods of leadership succession and high political uncertainty. In this paper, we compare the strategy used by Vladimir Putin towards the siloviki – the Russian security services – with that employed by Xi Jinping towards the Chinese security services. We find that in both countries, the security services have been significantly strengthened in recent years, while at the same time extensive anti-corruption campaigns have been used to eliminate key officials within the security structures. We argue that both developments can be seen as elements of a strategy to increase control over the public, while eliminating potential competition from regime insiders, in view of a deteriorating economic situation, and the constitutional (or quasi-constitutional) term limits faced by Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping in 2024 and 2022, respectively.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1645 240 24
Full Text Views 135 34 2
PDF Views & Downloads 198 48 4