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« RUSSIA AT YEAR'S END - STUCK IN GEAR BUT POISED FOR CHANGE? | Main | RUSSIA AND THE ARAB WINTER: FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC DILEMMAS »

December 13, 2012

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Alexander Mercouris

Dear Patrick,

Viz the sudden explosion of corruption scandals, I wonder whether there might also be a possible institutional explanation. The article to which you provided a link mentions Kolokoltsev's appointment as Interior Minister in the government reshuffle earlier this year. However most (or even all?) the anti corruption investigations have not been undertaken by the Interior Ministry and the police but by the Investigative Committee, which is a completely separately agency directly subordinated to the President.

The Investigative Committee was set up two years ago during Medvedev's Presidency first and foremost as an anti corruption agency. Could it be that it is its creation which is now bringing all these scandals to the fore? A two year period would be about right for a new investigative agency to bed in as an institution and to bring the first crop of investigations it launches to fruit. As someone who has experience of investigations I would say that some of the cases we have seen are of a complexity where a two year period of investigation would be unsurprising.

Of course this does not contradict the points you make. However I always feel that institutional explanations tend to get overlooked. If the setting up of the Investigative Committee has anything to do with the current crop of corruption scandals then Medvedev's anti corruption campaign was not the damp squib that most people say.

AK

There's an epic discussion about this ongoing at the Kremlin Stooge blog.

The power summary is that while investigations are indeed now bringing down higher up bureaucrats (if nothing else the manyfold increase of the average bribe amount in persecutions is proof of that), it is still very likely that any fallout will not touch the circle around Putin. All the evidence so far indicates that the investigators have no pretensions towards Serdyukov himself, the explanation being that he was "duped" by his subordinates and gf the poor fellow, with leaks indicating that is because a "political signal" was given to them to keep their claws off him.

The brazenness of this decision is only rivaling by its pure incomprehensibility. Unless Putin is corrupt himself and the regime really is a house of cards like the liberals claim (and I don't consider that credible, FTR), what possible benefit can the Russian government get for systematically "roofing" various crooks and thieves with Serdyukov only the most egregious example of that in quite some while?

Patrick Armstrong

Thanks for these.
Too early to say whether this is, finally, a serious attempt to tackle corruption nor how high it will go.
But firing the Def Min is certainly something. It is also (I think) the first time Putin has fired (rather than transferred) somebody he placed.
So it's something.
But is it IT?
Let's watch and see.

David Habakkuk

On Litvinenko, David Loepp and I have posted two diaries on the European Tribune site -- Scaramella Condemned for Aggravated Calumny in Rimini and Litvinenko's final frame-up?

See:

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2012/12/4/191342/931

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2012/12/11/11445/887

A detailed analysis of some of the claims made at Thursday's pre-inquest review will follow shortly.

Patrick Armstrong

Thank you David for these.
Layer upon layer of obfuscation. Looking forward to your next on this subject.

BTW, as I'm sure you know (but the MSM which, apparently, has never heard of Google does not) - Polonium is actually quite easy to obtain.
http://www.amstat.com/solutions/nuclear/bars.html

David Habakkuk

Dear Armstrong,

Our next diary -- entitled 'Fact, frame-up, or fiction? - Litvinenko's `deathbed testimony' -- is now up.

The address is:

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2012/12/18/171030/73

I think it might also interest William Dunkerley, and Gordon Hahn.

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