Thursday, November 8, 2012

President Putin Fires Crony's Former-ish Son-In-Law For Hand In Public Cookie Jar?

It is asoap opera rivaling America's in friends and acquaintances climbing each others' ladders into the higher echelons of government, as The New York Times prints  — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia fired his powerful defense minister on Tuesday after the police raided the property of a real estate company involved in the privatization of valuable ministry land near Moscow. The firing of Anatoly E. Serdyukov, a longtime Putin ally, is one of the highest-level dismissals tied to a corruption case in recent memory in Russia. A rare move by Mr. Putin, who has been reluctant to dismiss members of his inner circle.
Anatoly E. Serdyukov

Nice lead-in, but surface poppycock as the article goes on to explain. -  Mr. Putin appointed another longtime political ally, Sergei K. Shoigu, the former Minister of Emergency Situations, as the country’s new defense minister. But - Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov said the firing was necessary to allow the police to continue their investigation of wrongdoing in the Defense Ministry, which he said would not be possible if Mr. Serdyukov remained. Even as Mr. Putin forced Mr. Serdyukov out, he praised the minister’s past work.

         Dmitry Peskov

What politician doesn't praise? 

According to The Times - Many ministers in the Russian government have secondary roles in business and extensive property and wealth that is typically tolerated unless they fall from favor for another reason, analysts of Russian politics say.
Given time their tarnished reputations should be as glossily corroded as any American influence peddler, no?

Karl Rove

Maria Lipman, a researcher at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said in an interview, “In Russia, where what matters first and foremost are informal deals and relations, we should be looking for some kind of intrigue behind this all, some kind of a clash of very important interests.” Uh huh.
Gazprom Building, St. Petersburg
Of course - Such moves - convenient for guess you who - won Mr. Serdyukov no friends within the officer corps, which he once derisively referred to as a group of “little green men.” Officers, in turn, took to calling him “General Stool,” in reference to the years he managed the 
Mebel-Market furniture shop, from 1985 until 2000, in St. Petersburg.
The Times continues - Ms. Lipman said that corruption cases are sometimes opened as a way of settling scores and that “in an environment as corrupt as Russia, almost anyone can fall victim.”

So The Times states - Why Mr. Serdyukov was removed from office is unclear. But then The Times goes on to explain. - The Russian news media have suggested that there might have been a clash of a personal nature between Mr. Serdyukov and his father-in-law, a close associate of Mr. Putin, or a conflict with military generals. And give details for something described as "unclear."

As follows, according to The Times. - Since his appointment in 2007, Mr. Serdyukov, a former furniture store manager, alienated the uniformed military through changes that thinned the top-heavy officer ranks. It was a policy to alter the “egg-shaped” hierarchy of the Russian Army into a pyramid form. He - fired or forced into early retirement 40,000 officers since 2008 and reduced the number of active-duty generals and admirals by almost half, from 1,107 four years ago to 610 today.

Next what The Times cites is worded almost as if the firing was political debt repayment for the president's re-election. So it's not that President Putin is all-powerful but blows-in-the-wind to vested interests? 
    Again, according to The Times - Russia’s defense industry was a crucial base of support for Mr. Putin in the presidential election he won in March. As part of the campaign, Mr. Putin pledged major increases in military spending, promises that have been cast into uncertainty in budget negotiations.
Viktor Zubkov & Tatyana Golikova 

Power's squeaky wheels get the grease!

So, prints The Times - Now that the painful cuts are behind him, Mr. Putin wanted to distance himself from them by summarily firing the unpopular Mr. Serdyukov, thus appeasing the officers, suggested Ruslan Pukhov, director of Center for the Analysis of Strategy and Technologies, a Russian research group.
A lot of explanation for what The Times began describing as - "unclear."

Because there's more. - Mr. Serdyukov had also reportedly fallen out with his, close associate of Mr. Putin, father-in-law,  other analysts said. In this light, the firing of Mr. Serdyukov, who had overseen the nuclear arsenal, raised the prospect of potentially destabilizing family disagreements within the tight ruling elite in Russia, where nepotism is tolerated. 

Since American political staffs are so known to be intolerably free of unnecessary nepotism? 

Mr. Serdyukov was married to Yulia V. Pokhlebenina, the daughter of Viktor A. Zubkov, a former prime minister and chairman of, the natural gas company, Gazprom. A post in Russia with power at least rivaling that of minister of defense. Mr. Zubkov first worked as an aide to Mr. Putin in 1992, in the St. Petersburg mayor’s office, where Mr. Putin was a vice mayor.
Sounds as if the former defense minister knew the gig was up and had nowhere to run.
Aleksei Navalny & billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov
States the Times - But the couple had recently become estranged, some commentators said. Such as what Aleksei A. Navalny, an anticorruption activist and opposition leader, wrote in an online posting. “In the understanding of our leaders, betraying the family is a crime more dangerous than theft or murder. That is why today the son-in-law stopped being the minister of defense. Or, more accurately, the son-in-law stopped being the son-in-law, and so we need a new minister.”

So the soapy opera. - The authorities searched the home of a female director, Yevgenia N. Vasilyeva, a former subordinate to Mr. Serdyukov at the ministry. Though it a pre-dawn raid, they found Mr. Serdyukov at the home, LifeNews, an online publication that often receives exclusive news from the security services, reported. RBK newspaper reported the minister met investigators in slippers and a bathrobe. The police reportedly led Ms. Vasilyeva out in handcuffs and confiscated her jewelry and other valuables.

That'll teach them to what? Acquire, but be beholden to the powerful. God, there's so much further for Russia to go to even begin to depend on the rule-of-law for protection of individual rights. That's a president's job. Vladimir? It's Stalinesque to let the services carry out the dirty deeds as if they're out of the leader's hands. 

Vladimir Ryzhkov
As Vladimir A. Ryzhkov, an opposition politician, said, “This is a personal matter.” Describing the affair as evidence of the “clannish, byzantine and deeply personal” nature of the relationships among the high-placed officials around Mr. Putin who have led Russia for over a decade.

Alexei Venediktov
And, most likely, guaranteeing other voices remain under watchful eyes, Aleksei A. Venediktov, editor of Ekho Moskvy radio station, noted in a commentary over the weekend that under Russian nuclear deterrence policy the defense minister is entrusted, like the president, with the so-called nuclear suitcase of launch codes and communication equipment needed to order a nuclear strike. As such, he is also under round-the-clock guard. So - Only an order from Mr. Putin or his chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, could compel the guard detail for the launch codes to stand aside, allowing criminal investigators to enter the apartment in Moscow where the defense minister and Ms. Vasilyeva were located. 

"It was a demonstrative humiliation," Mr. Venediktov said.

And so transparent.

Come on, Mr. President. Aren't there egalitarian moves to make? 

Andrew Roth contributed reporting to The New York Times article written By Andrew E. Kramer