The military coup of August 2020 upended Mali’s fragile liberal democratic order. The junta-led transitionary government defies international pressure to fasten the return of democratically-elected rulers and constitutional rule. The ability of the junta to shape the course of Malian politics rests on two interconnected pillars. First, there is public resentment towards the post-1991 political class and France’s military involvement in the country. The forces representing that resentment view the junta as change makers and have formed influential political organisations that oppose there turn to the status quo ante. Second, there is the security co-operation with Russian mercenaries, which provides the transitionary government with an alternative security partner. The paper traces the origins, evolution, and the future strength of these pillars. It concludes by outlining future political scenarios and the future role of the military in Malian politics.