Posts Tagged ‘Sergei Shoigu’
Vladimir Putin’s fishing expedition in Tyva lit up the Russian blogosphere over the weekend. There were lots of bromance jokes about Putin and Medvedev, and debates about the size of the fish Putin caught (conclusion: much smaller than the claimed 21kg).
But there was also an interesting post by Andrei Malgin on his LJ blog with the conspiracy theory that the fishing trip did not take place at all. And that the photos released were actually from a previous trip to Tyva in 2007. He notes that the Kremlin never noted Putin’s visit to Tyva on the dates he was allegedly there. Furthermore, the Kremlin press pool was not informed of the trip, nor were they present. Finally, the cutter Shoigu and Putin are in has an MChS (Emergencies Ministry) tag on it. This is important because Shoigu was the long-time Minister of the Emergencies Ministry until last year.
The evidence does not look good, but… here is the thing: we know Peskov lies. It is an open secret in Moscow. Someone once joked, “When Peskov lies, you know he is lying, and he knows that you know he is lying.” Frankly, I don’t think he can help himself. But there is a difference between lying in an interview about how much Putin’s pike weighed (and who really cares anyway?), and posting photos that are 6 years old and trying to pass them off as being only a week old. Why would you lie about something like that? What does it get you?
One commenter joked: “Maybe Putin has already died, and we don’t know it.”
Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov denied on Sunday that the photos were from the 2007 trip.
United Russia is still in the process of holding their “primaries” in order to create their party lists for their big conference in September (as far as I can determine, this is something like National Conventions in the US, but probably not as fun). The Moscow Times had a piece today outlining how the primaries are going, but the process is so convoluted and confusing that it is a wonder anyone follows it. But that might be the point, to make it so confusing that people don’t want to follow it.
Anyway, it raised a few questions in my mind, not the least of which is this: if Deputy PM Igor Sechin is actually running for a seat in the Duma (which I still think is slightly shady, to say the least), does that mean he is a member of United Russia? I know that something like 5 members of the Russian Government are registered members of United Russia, but I’ve never been able to quite pin down who those 5 (or so) people are.
- Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik (maybe);
- Deputy PM Vyacheslav Volodin (was a member before becoming Deputy PM, and never resigned, I think);
- MChS Minister Sergei Shoigu (supposedly a founding member);
- Vladimir Putin (apparently still is not a member, but in charge, anyway… whatever);
- Deputy PM Dmitry Kozak (I think);
- Deputy PM Alexander Zhukov (actually, I am pretty sure that he is a member);
- Sergei Sobyanin (might have been, but he doesn’t count anymore because he’s Mayor of Moscow)…
Obviously, my list is incomplete, and full of holes.
I wonder if it bothers Putin and Co that we laugh at them behind our hands (and sometimes more publicly) for the mockery they continue to make of themselves. But how can anyone actually take them seriously? And at this point, why do they even bother? I know the answer, of course, legitimacy. But how much legitimacy can you have when you act in this manner?
EDIT: Slon.ru had a piece this morning (or morning my time, anyway) on the illegality of allowing members of the Government to participate in the Putin’s Peoples Front (or ONF). The article actually names names. The names include the ones I named previously, and a few more that I missed:
- Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev (who is running in the primaries, as far as I know); and
- First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.
VTsIOM conucted a poll recently on the members of the Government, and I was kind of surprised by the results.
First of all, Sergei Shoigu has the highest approval rating of anyone in the government (people were not asked about Putin). I have mixed feelings about Shoigu. He has held the post of Emergency Situations Minister since Boris Yeltsin came to power. On the one hand, I feel like he must be doing something right, and his approval rating has always been pretty high. But then yesterday’s incident makes me pause to think. His solution to the Bulgaria tragedy is to put black boxes in all boats. What? That’s his response? Quite frankly, the man has never been good in an “emergency” (Beslan, Dubrovka, etc.), and I’m still not sure where he is getting such high numbers. Unless people are just saying that they like him because they know who he is (he has been in the Government since 1991, after all). That’s the only thing I can come up with anyway. Also, presumably, the poll was conducted before the Bulgaria tragedy.
Here are some more numbers:
- Sergei Lavrov — 47% approval rating. Okay, I’ll buy that. He’s one of the most public figures of the Government since he is the head diplomat.
- Sergei Ivanov — 32% approve of the job he’s doing (or have heard of him, anyway).
And the lows are:
- Andrei Fursenko — 50% disapprove of the job he is doing. Hardly suprising since he’s the face of education “reform”, and most teachers are upset about it.
- Tatiana Golikova — 41% disapprove of the job she is doing. What is she doing, anyway? I don’t even know.
- Alexei Kudrin — 34% disapprove of the job he is doing. Well, he’s not exactly populist, is he? And I doubt he’s really out to win any popularity contests. But then none of these people are, are they? Their job doesn’t depend on what the general populace think of them. It only depends on what Putin and Medvedev think of them, and their work.
Some other numbers:
- 75% of people don’t know who Igor Sechin is;
- 72% don’t know who Vyacheslav Volodin is; and
- 71% have never heard of Igor Shuvalov.
I was a little shocked when I saw those numbers, but I bet if you asked Americans the same questions about their Government, they would say the same thing.