Posts Tagged ‘Clan War’
There has been a story floating in and out of Russian politics for a while regarding former Finance Minister and Deputy PM Alexei Kudrin. It went like this: Kudrin was the leader of the economic liberals, and a counter-balance to Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, and his clan, the siloviki.
And, the narrative continued, Alexei Kudrin was the only person preventing the siloviki from dipping into the pot of money called the Stabilization Fund (a kind of rainy-day investment portfolio created for when oil prices dropped). The siloviki, the rumour mill alleged, wanted to use the money to improve infrastructure. Finance Minister Kudrin, however, wanted to keep that money safe for its intended use: riding out any future financial crisis.
After Kudrin’s dramatic exit on Monday (video here; and English transcript here), I’ve started to wonder if the story was all fake: something that Kudrin made up and then leaked in order to make himself seem more powerful in the eyes of the West.
We may never know, but it will be interesting to see if Putin ends up authorising any withdraws from the Fund in the coming months.
P.S. I do have some reactions to the decision of the Tandem to swap, but after poring over so many others’ reactions, I may just end up doing a summary.
According to Paul Goble, Andrei Fursenko went on Ekho Moskvy about a week ago, and talked about the problem the population decline will have on education. Not the most shocking of messages, and what he said seemed sound. What was more interesting was that he came pretty close to calling Putin a liar on the demographics issue, and then said that the Duma is after him.
So Andrei Fursenko is worried, but I am not sure why. He says that the Duma is attacking him, but so what? What are they going to do to him? It seems as though his fear is that the Duma will try to force him out. But it is not like the Duma has the power to do so. And why are you appealing to an audience that (theoretically, at least) has less power the the Duma? I suppose that his audience could take to the streets, but why should they? What is in it for them?
All that to say, there is clearly more to this story than what Fursenko said, and it does not bode well for the future of the tandemocracy, or for Putin’s grip on those close to him.
This story came up on my Reader this morning, and it struck me as possibly being important. Not the actual stuff about commodities (which I do not really understand, as I have never taken an economics course), but the bit about Yelena Skrynnik. There is something going on within the Agriculture Ministry, but I cannot quite put my finger on what. Part of me wants to say that she’s trying to feel her way through her first year. And to a certain degree, I think that’s true.
But I just feel like there’s more going on here than just Lena being conservative with her numbers.
State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said Friday that the Okhta-Center should be built in St. Petersburg, but that a better location should be chosen, Itar-Tass reported.
The controversial 400-meter high skyscraper should be constructed on Vasilyevsky Island, where it could function as a lighthouse, or on the territory of the Rzhevsky range outside the city, Gryzlov told reporters at a United Russia forum in St. Petersburg.
I was reading Paul Goble’s Window On Eurasia blog late yesterday, and this caught my eye because it was in reference to the rumours of a clan war.
…[the] decision to increase its force levels in the North Caucasus points to three important conclusions about policy and politics in the Russian capital, conclusions that suggest some very different conclusions than some have been drawing in recent weeks.
First, this decision suggests that decision making on these questions is still dominated by the force structures around Vladimir Putin who has made no secret of his belief in the efficacy of the use of force rather than by political forces around Dmitry Medvedev who have promoted the idea that Moscow must use economic and social tools to overcome problems in the Caucasus.
Second, it suggests that for all the complaints about the downsizing of the officer corps and the military that have been raised in recent months, the Russian army can still get government support whenever it is in a position to make the case that only it is in a position to guarantee that those who are in power remain there.
Some things to think about, at least.
Writing on the gazeta.ru news site, political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky suggested it had long been clear “the corncob would most likely never get built,” adding that Gazprom’s total debt “has reached $60 billion — that is, 30 corncobs.”
The energy giant, he concluded, “would have a hard time finding an extra $2 billion to build a business center. One which, if you look at it carefully and think it through, no one needs.” Read the rest of this entry »