Yuri Chaika‘s term as Prosecutor General is up in 18 days. In the next three weeks, the decision must be reached as to whether or not Chaika will remain at his post for another 5 year term.
The Russian Constitution of 1993 states in Articles 102h and 129 that the Prosecutor General is appointed by the President for a 5 year term subject to the approval of the upper house of Parliament, the Federation Council.
Usually this would not be an issue. Chaika would go before the Federation Council, possibly answer a few easy questions, and the Federation Council would vote to approve him for another term.
However, a few things have changed in the last 12 months or so. First of all, the establishment of the Investigative Committee as its own separate entity has given Alexander Bastrykin more power, and made him more power hungry. Second of all, Chaika and his family have been the recipient of much scrutiny in corruption charges (brought to our attention by Bastrykin, of course).
So things are not looking good for Yuri Chaika’s job prospects. And I actually had a whole list of arguments as to why Chaika would be leaving in three weeks. But, in the last few days, I have changed my mind. Here’s why:
First, there are not really any good options for a replacement. They could pick Konovalov (the Justice Minister), or Vinnichenko (Presidential Envoy to the Urals Federal District), but both men are cronies, and school buddies of Medvedev. Technically, Chaika is still an outsider, and therefore weak in influence. And then they’d have to pick a replacement for the other position, and it could get messy.
Second, there’s a bit of pride involved in all of this. While being an outsider, Chaika is loyal. And as I’ve said before, Putin values loyalty above every other virtue. If Putin were to let Chaika go, it would make him (Putin) look bad.
On the other hand, Chaika has gotten the short end of the stick by these people so many times that it would not surprise me if they pulled something out of their hats at the last minute. Plus, there’s always August. I am fully anticipating some excitement taking place in August (but that’s the subject of my next post).