Nikolai Patrushev

Russian politician and security officer (born 1951)

Nikolai Patrushev
Nikolay Patrushev 2019.jpg
Patrushev in 2019
Secretary of the Security Council of Russia
Assumed office
12 May 2008
PresidentVladimir Putin
Dmitry Medvedev
Director of the Federal Security Service
In office
9 August 1999 – 12 May 2008
Preceded byVladimir Putin
Succeeded byAlexander Bortnikov
Personal details
Born (1951-07-11) 11 July 1951 (age 71)
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Children2 (including Dmitry)
AwardsHero of the Russian Federation
Military service
Soviet Union
Branch/serviceFederal Security Service
Years of service1975–2008
RankGeneral of the Army

Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev (Russian: Никола́й Плато́нович Па́трушев; born 11 July 1951) is a Russian politician, security officer and intelligence officer who has served as the secretary of the Security Council of Russia since 2008.[1][2] He previously served as the director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) from 1999 to 2008. Belonging to the siloviki faction of president Vladimir Putin's inner circle,[3] Patrushev is believed to be one of the closest advisors to Putin and a leading figure behind Russia's national security affairs.[4] He is considered as very hawkish towards the West and the US and has promoted various conspiracy theories. Patrushev is seen by observers as one of the likeliest candidates for succeeding Putin.[5]

Early life and education

Born on 11 July 1951 in Leningrad, Soviet Union (now Saint Petersburg, Russia), Patrushev is the son of a Soviet Navy officer who was also a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[6]

He graduated from Leningrad Shipbuilding Institute in 1974, and initially he worked as an engineer in the Institute's shipbuilding design bureau, but very soon afterwards, in 1975, he was recruited by the KGB.[7]

He attended intelligence and security courses at the KGB School in Minsk, and later at the Higher School of the KGB in Moscow (the present-day FSB Academy).[6]

Patrushev has known Vladimir Putin since the 1970s, when the two men worked together in the Leningrad KGB.[8]


Russian President Putin and then FSB director Patrushev at a meeting of the board of the Federal Security Service in 2002

KGB security officer (1975-1991)

Starting as a KGB security officer in the city of Leningrad, Patrushev eventually rose to become head of their local anti-smuggling and anti-corruption unit.[9]

FSK and FSB career (1992-1999)

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Patrushev continued to work in the security services and from 1992 to 1994 he was Minister of Security of the Republic of Karelia while in 1994 he was brought to Moscow as head of the Directorate of Internal Security of the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK).

In June 1995, Patrushev became deputy chief of the FSB's Organization and Inspection Department. From May to August 1998, he was chief of the Control Directorate of the Presidential Staff; from August to October, he was Deputy Chief of the Presidential Staff; in October 1998, he was appointed Deputy Director of the FSB and chief of the Directorate for Economic Security. In April 1999, he became FSB First Deputy Director.

Director of FSB (1999-2008)

On 9 August 1999, a decree by President Boris Yeltsin promoted him to Director, replacing his close friend Vladimir Putin.

The United Kingdom public inquiry into the 2006 poisoning of FSB whistleblower Alexander Litvinenko found that "the FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr Patrushev and also by President Putin."[10]

Security Council of Russia (2008-present)

Dmitry Medvedev with Sergei Lavrov and Patrushev at the 2010 SCO Summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Patrushev at a meeting of Vladimir Putin with senior officers and prosecutors in April 2015

Since May 2008, Patrushev has been Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, a consultative body of the President that works out his decisions on national security affairs.[1][2]

Patrushev considers the 2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine to have been started by the United States.[11]

Patrushev believes that the United States "would much prefer that Russia did not exist at all."[11]

Following the October 2016 coup d'état plot failure in Montenegro, Patrushev was cited by experts, such as Mark Galeotti, as the Kremlin's point man for the Balkans, which was interpreted as indicating Russia's increasingly hardline approach to the region as well as the latter's growing importance in Russia's foreign policy strategy.[12][13][14]

Patrushev with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and John Bolton in June 2019

According to a post on Anastasia Vashukevich's Instagram account, Patrushev, who had traveled to Thailand during late February 2018, was involved in her arrest in Thailand during late February 2018.[15]

In January 2019, he said Ukrainian authorities were being “controlled” by the US.[16]

In June 2019, Patrushev said that Iran "has always been and remains our ally and partner".[17]

Patrushev with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta, Indonesia in December 2021

In January 2021, he said that "the West needs" Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny "to destabilise the situation in Russia, for social upheaval, strikes and new Maidans."[18]

Patrushev was a leading figure behind Russia's updated national security strategy, published in May 2021. It states that Russia may use "forceful methods" to "thwart or avert unfriendly actions that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation."[19][20]

2022 invasion of Ukraine

In late January 2022, during a visit to mark the anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad during the Second World War, Patrushev said, "We don't want war. We don't need that at all."[21] On 30 January he denied allegations that Russia planned to invade Ukraine, describing the claims as "completely absurd."[22]

Sources say the decision to invade Ukraine was made by Putin and a small group of war hawks around him, including Patrushev and Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.[23] 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]."[24]

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" tropology and claimed that "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." Washington responded that Moscow was angry that Ukraine had embraced the west as embodied in their desire to join the EU and NATO.[25]

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."[26]

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.[27]

On 19 September 2022, during his visit to China, he described the "strengthening of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with Beijing as an unconditional priority of Russia’s foreign policy."[28] He said that both China and Russia are calling for "a more just world order".[29]


After the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Patrushev was placed on the European Union's list of sanctioned individuals in Russia.[30]

In April 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on him and 23 other Russian nationals.[31][32]

Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States imposed sanctions against Patrushev.[33]

Political views

Patrushev belongs to the siloviki of Putin's inner circle.[34][a]

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»")[35][36] The term "new nobility" gained currency afterwards, as in the eponymous book The New Nobility.[37][38]

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".[39] 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."[11] 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.[40][41]

Patrushev believes in various conspiracy theories and often gives interviews to state-controlled media in Russia.[26] 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."[26] 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."[26][42]

Personal life

His eldest son, Dmitry, is a banker, Minister of Agriculture of Russia since 18 May 2018.[43] 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.[44][45][46]

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.[47][48]

Honours and awards

  • Hero of the Russian Federation (2000)[49]
  • Order of St Dmitri Donskoy, the Blessed Great Prince of Moscow, 1st Class (Russian Orthodox Church, 2005) – The saint allegedly wards off "all kinds of threats for the sake of multiplying the faith and piety of the people, strengthening families and protecting from bodily extinction and spiritual death."[50]


  1. ^ Other siloviki close to Patrushev include Igor Sechin, Alexander Bortnikov, and Viktor Ivanov.[34]


  1. ^ a b BackGround, People: PATRUSHEV, Nikolai Platonovich, Russia Profile, Moscow, Undated Archived 7 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.Retrieved: 8 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b Russia trolls world by saying it cannot stop its citizens from fighting in Ukraine, Kyiv Post (25 June 2015)
  3. ^ "Ukraine conflict: Who's in Putin's inner circle and running the war?". BBC News. 2 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  4. ^ Troianovski, Anton (30 January 2022). "The Hard-Line Russian Advisers Who Have Putin's Ear". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  5. ^ "After Putin: 12 people ready to ruin Russia next". POLITICO. 29 September 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Патрушев Николай Платонович".
  7. ^ BackGround, People: PATRUSHEV, Nikolai Platonovich, Russia Profile, Moscow, Undated Archived 7 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.Retrieved: 8 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Twelve Who Have Putin's Ear". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). 15 October 2007.
  9. ^ "Биография :: Федеральная Служба Безопасности". Retrieved 2 November 2022.
  10. ^ The Litvinenko Inquiry. Report into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, January 2016, p. 241–244.
  11. ^ a b c Patrushev, Nikolai; Kommersant, Elena Chernenko for (15 July 2015). "Terrorism, Ukraine and the American threat: the view from Russia". the Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  12. ^ Amos, Howard (21 June 2017). "Vladimir Putin's man in the Balkans: The involvement of Nikolai Patrushev, a former spy and Putin confidante, indicates a more hardline Russian approach to the region". Politico.
  13. ^ Mark Galeotti (4 April 2018). "Do the Western Balkans face a coming Russian storm?". European Council on Foreign Relations.
  14. ^ "Russia's Comeback in the Balkans - New Eastern Europe". New Eastern Europe. 13 August 2018.
  15. ^ Burrows, Emma (1 March 2018). "Russian model in Thai jail promises to spill Trump-Russia secrets". CNN. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  16. ^ "Ukraine could soon cease to be a country, Russia's top security official says". The Independent. 16 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Russia Says U.S.-Iran 'War' Possible, But 'We Will Convince' Them to Talk". Newsweek. 26 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Vladimir Putin: The security men, officials, and friends who are in Russian president's inner circle". Sky News. 28 February 2022.
  19. ^ "Russia's security strategy envisages 'forceful methods'". ABC News. 31 May 2021.
  20. ^ "Putin's inner circle: Who has the Russian president's ear on the war in Ukraine?". Deutsche Welle. 11 March 2022.
  21. ^ Parfitt, Tom; Brown, Larissa (30 January 2022). "Even Ukraine doesn't believe the West's claim that war is coming, says Russia". The Times. Archived from the original on 17 February 2022.
  22. ^ "U.S. and U.K. Work on Russian Sanctions Revamp: Ukraine Update". Bloomberg. 30 January 2022.
  23. ^ "Kremlin Insiders Alarmed Over Growing Toll of Putin's War in Ukraine". Bloomberg. 20 March 2022.
  24. ^ Isikoff, Michael (27 February 2022). "Putin may have 'lost touch with reality,' expert says". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  25. ^ "Putin ally says Ukraine heading for collapse into several states". Reuters. 26 April 2022.
  26. ^ a b c d "As one of Vladimir Putin's closest advisers on Ukraine, Nicolai Patrushev spreads disinformation and outlandish conspiracy theories". The Conversation. 7 June 2022.
  27. ^ "NSA Ajit Doval meets Patrushev in Moscow to discuss steps to boost strategic ties". The Economic Times. 18 August 2022.
  28. ^ "Russia Seeks Closer Security Ties With China as Key Goal". The Diplomat. 19 September 2022.
  29. ^ "China and Russia want fair world order, won't bend to 'external factors', Russian security chief says". South China Morning Post. 19 September 2022.
  30. ^ "COUNCIL IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) No 810/2014 of 25 July 2014 implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine". 25 July 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  31. ^ "Ukraine-/Russia-related Designations and Identification Update". United States Department of the Treasury. 6 April 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  32. ^ США ввели санкции против семи российских олигархов и 17 чиновников из «кремлевского списка» [The US imposed sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs and 17 officials from the "Kremlin list"]. Meduza (in Russian). 6 April 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  33. ^ US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). "Russia-related Designations; Belarus Designations; Issuance of Russia-related Directive 2 and 3; Issuance of Russia-related and Belarus General Licenses; Publication of new and updated Frequently Asked Questions". U.S. Department of the Treasury. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  34. ^ a b Harding, Luke (21 December 2007). "Putin, the Kremlin power struggle and the $40bn fortune". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  35. ^ Russia's New Nobility – The Rise of the Security Services in Putin's Kremlin, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan (of, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2010 and in the authors' The New Nobility – The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB, Public Affairs, New York, September 2010.Retrieved: 8 March 2013.
  36. ^ Интервью с Директором Федеральной службы безопасности России Н.Патрушевым Komsomolskaya Pravda, 20 December 2000.
  37. ^ В России уже почти 15 тысяч «новых дворян»: Ксения Собчак, Алексий II, Николай Патрушев 6 November 2007.
  38. ^ "The New Nobility". Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  39. ^ Kirby, Paul (3 March 2022). "Ukraine conflict: Who's in Putin's inner circle and running the war?". BBC News. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  40. ^ Mackey, Robert (18 December 2014). "Putin Cites Claim About U.S. Designs on Siberia Traced to Russian Mind Readers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  41. ^ Moscow, Oleg Kashin in (15 July 2015). "How hallucinations of eccentric KGB psychic influence Russian policy". the Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  42. ^ Galeotti, Mark (14 June 2020). "In Moscow's Shadows". Buzzsprout.
  43. ^ Гордеев, Владислав (Gordeev, Vladislav); Сухорукова, Елена (Sukhorukova, Elena); Новопашина, Наталья (Novopashina, Natalia) (18 March 2018). "Дмитрий Патрушев возглавил Минсельхоз: Глава Россельхозбанка Дмитрий Патрушев возглавит Министерство сельского хозяйства в новом правительстве России. Его кандидатуру представил президенту Владимиру Путину премьер Дмитрий Медведев" [Dmitry Patrushev headed the Ministry of Agriculture: The head of Rosselkhozbank, Dmitry Patrushev, will head the Ministry of Agriculture in the new Russian government. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev presented his candidacy to President Vladimir Putin.]. RBK (in Russian). Archived from the original on 3 August 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  44. ^ "Here are the Russian oligarchs targeted in Biden's sanctions". NBC News. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  45. ^ Джорджевич, Александра (Djordjevic, Alexandra); Прокушев, Владимир (Prokushev, Vladimir) (17 November 2020). "Наследные принципы: Как российская элита передает страну в руки своих детей" [Legacy principles: How the Russian elite is handing the country over to their children]. Novaya Gazeta #127 November 18, 2020 (in Russian). Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  46. ^ Бондаренко, Мария (Bondarenko, Maria); Подобедова, Людмила (Podobedova, Lyudmila) (6 April 2015). "Сын Патрушева,однокурсник Фрадкова: В «Газпром нефти» новый начальник" [Patrushev's son, Fradkov's classmate: Gazprom Neft has a new boss]. RBC (in Russian). Archived from the original on 28 November 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  47. ^ "Победит ли Россия в "информационной войне" с Эстонией?: "Подвиг их неизвестен"" [Will Russia win the “information war” with Estonia?: "Their feat is unknown"]. BBC (in Russian). 3 May 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  48. ^ Николаева, Анна (Nikolayeva, Anna) (3 May 2007). "Подвиг их неизвестен: Президент наградил родственников директора ФСБ" [Their feat is unknown: President awarded relatives to FSB director]. FLB (Freelance Bureau) (in Russian). Retrieved 11 February 2020 – via Vedomosti.
  49. ^ Герои страны
  50. ^ Dmitri Donskoy, the Blessed Great Prince of Moscow, Icons of the 21st Century, Moscow, Undated. Retrieved: 8 March 2013.

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1994 – 31 May 1998
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Viktor Ivanov
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