Snowden. Putin made an offer that brilliantly solved everybody’s problems: Snowden could stay in Russia but he would have to keep his mouth shut. But Snowden rejected it: he will not keep quiet. But he seems to be running out of options on where to go: thus far no other country has volunteered. So he may have to take Putin’s offer yet. I believe Putin when he says there has been no collaboration between Snowden and Russian intelligence structure: I doubt very much that Snowden has anything to tell Spetssvyaz that it does not already know. Meanwhile I can’t see that this behaviour benefits the USA much.
Corruption. Last Sitrep I wondered whether the anti-corruption drive had bogged down with too many cases on the go to properly finish any one. But here is some evidence that the investigators are still working away: another facet of the OboronServis case has been exposed. And a brand-new case of embezzlement at the Baykonur Space Centre.
White collar crime. The Duma, after Putin’s request, has overwhelming passed an amnesty for white collar crimes. It will apply to first-time offenders convicted under financial laws who have compensated their victims and did not use violence. It will come into effect over the next 6 months and is expected to apply to about 13,000 in prison and another 70-80,000 under other penalties. Somewhat overdue: too many of these cases were cooked up as a bizness struggle. In another pro-business move, the Duma has voted to lift foreign ownership restrictions on small and medium-sized businesses.