Olympic corruption. Navalniy has put out his corruption report. Not very impressive; mostly assertions. He agrees with Putin that the Olympic facilities, narrowly defined, cost US$6-7 billion. He thinks a 50-km road-rail route in difficult terrain up to the ski centre is very excessive at US$8 billion. (Follow the route yourself on Google Maps: not an easy one). He mentions a couple of occasions where people have been arrested for corruption. Various contractors are said to be Putin’s “friends”. Yes, a lot of money has been spent – US$40-50 billion – but it’s a huge infrastructure operation to create a permanent tourist resort complex, not just a few weeks of winter sports. Anyway, here’s his report, see whether he convinces you that enormous sums have disappeared without a trace. In a week or so you can see for yourself what’s been built: “We have to see that what we did in the Alps we needed 150 years and they had to do it in five years”.
Corruption. Quite a bit in the last two weeks. The nets seem to be catching bigger fish. A deputy chief of police in Moscow arrested for taking bribes. The deputy PM of Dagestan busted for fraud. A former member of the Dagestan parliament (and, for those who think they’re exempt, a stalwart member of Putin’s support party, United Russia) ditto. But, as usual, military-connected events lead the pack. A criminal case was opened against Serdyukov’s brother-in-law (I don’t believe that Serdyukov’s out of the soup yet – passing the loot off to family is a common practice). The DG of an important shipyard “suspected” of embezzlement. The Prosecutor General said inspections of the defence industry had uncovered “a huge number of violations” and 48 criminal cases have been opened. You have to agree that while there haven’t been many convictions, there certainly have been plenty of arrests.