Putinania

Russian Politics, & Personalities

Posts Tagged ‘Yuri Luzhkov

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My favourite quote so far on the loss of Luzhkov:

“It is sad that in Russia there is not the custom of saying goodbye to someone, and thanking them for what they have done and not just on a whim.”  –Alexander Krutov, Deputy, Moscow City Duma

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Written by Nina Jobe

September 28, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Posted in Clan War, Moscow

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Luzhkov

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There are so many stories going around about this Luzhkov thing that I am almost reluctant to put up anything.  However, I am interested in the shortlist.  Everyone has their favourites, I guess, but here are a few that I’ve picked up from a Businessweek article:

-Boos.  I find this one odd since he was just forced out of Kaliningrad about a month ago.

-Sobyanin’s name keeps getting thrown around, too.  However, I still see Sobyanin as a risk.  I know he’s been around for about 5 years, but IMHO he is still a newbie.  I don’t know.  I just don’t feel good about it.

-Sergei Borisovich Ivanov.  Honestly?  I don’t want to lose the new, and IMHO improved Sergei Borisovich.  He is so much happier, and relaxed (and can I say less crazy?) now that he is out of the spotlight.  Can we please keep him that way?  Also, I don’t think DAM would go for it.

-Sergei Shoigu.  As for Shoigu, I do not really have any opinion one way or the other.  The man is certainly loyal (I’ll give him that).  And he always manages to stay above the fray, and/or out of the spotlight.  Which just seems odd because MChS is always involved during crises.  But if you had to score Shoigu, you’d give him an average score, wouldn’t you?  And why?  I don’t know.  He’s bland, and unexciting (except for the fact that he raises Labradors), and seems to get stuff done.  But in the back of my mind, I still remember Beslan, and then I don’t feel so good about him.  However, I think he’d be a loyal replacement.

P.S. Vedmosti is reporting that Yuri may be out by the end of the week, and someone else is saying December.

Meanwhile, here is Robert Coalson’s piece on the whole scandal.

EDIT: Sergei Ivanov has said that he is not interested in being mayor of Moscow.  Like I said, he is so much saner now.

Written by Nina Jobe

September 17, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Posted in Moscow

Tagged with ,

Kudrin vs Luzhkov

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For awhile I thought that Kudrin was the weakest man in the Government.  I revised that point of view a few months ago for several reasons.  First of all, Igor Sechin has gone after him several times over the past few years, and Kudrin has stayed on.  At first I could not figure out why.  But I thought about it, and I realised that Kudrin has shown that he is basically loyal.  Plus, Kudrin gave Putin a place to stay when the latter first moved to Moscow.

It is a reciprocal relationship.  Putin values loyalty above all else.  He expects it.  At the same time, he is perfectly willing to reciprocate.  And he will, as long as the other person remains loyal.  But the minute there is a hint of disloyalty, you can kiss your job good-bye.  So, for the time being, it appears as though Kudrin is safe.

I have discussed Yuri Luzhkov several times over the past week or so.  Rumours abound as to his position (and the election last weekend did not appear to make him any safer).  However, I still maintain that he is safe, though considerably weaker than he was a year ago.

In light of all that, this story seems kind of weird.  I am not really sure what is happening here.  The article makes it sound like the two supposed weakest people are attacking each other.  I am more inclined to believe that Kudrin is acting as attack dog for the Government in an effort to further weaken Luzhkov.

Classic Quote from Yuri Luzhkov: “Kudrin will achieve in 2010 what not even the Germans managed to do in 1941 — to halt the works at the metro”.

Written by Nina Jobe

October 23, 2009 at 7:48 PM

Konstantin Sonin Is Bored

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I have read this op-ed piece by Konstantin Sonin about five times now, and I am still confused.  Not by what he says in the middle, but his beginning, and his conclusion.  He begins by saying: “In December [2008], I predicted that there would be huge shakeup in the Kremlin and White House at some point in 2009. It looks like I will be wrong on this one.”

There are still 10 more weeks (give or take) left in the year, so it is entirely possible that something big could happen.  But I rather doubt it will be what Sonin predicts.  However, he makes a good point.  The structure of the Tandemocracy is such that it would be impossible to make a dramatic change without transforming the structure itself.  Tipping the balance in favour of one group over the other could be dangerous (even though, as I have said before, it is not truly balanced).  Sonin takes this a step further, and tries to argue that even changing out Luzhkov would be mistake because it would make Luzhkov’s successor (allegedly Sobyanin) too strong, and destroy the status quo.

As I have previously stated, Yuri Luzhkov is just too strong to take on, or out.  Yes, he has suffered set-backs in the past year or so, but who hasn’t?  I have also discussed the issue of Sobyanin before, and why I think that Sobyanin as a successor to Luzhkov is just not true.  I could see moving Sobyanin into Gromov’s place as Governor of Moscow Region, and then later moving him into the Mayor’s office.  But I am not entirely convinced simply because of the nature of the system.

The power vertical forces alliances, and Sobyanin would have to play the strong man in order to gain control.  By playing that role, he would then become independent of the very people who created him, and pulled him out of relative obscurity.  And what do you suppose would happen then?  He would become another Yuri Luzhkov, or Mintimer Shaymiyev (President of Tatarstan), or worse, Ramzan Kadyrov.

At the same time, Zhukov is too weak to ever be truly effective, thus creating the “power vacuum” that Sonin refers to. And Kozak (another rumoured successor to Luzhkov) is too volatile (and too “liberal”).

Sonin’s conclusion?  “Despite these inherent political dangers, I remain firm in my prediction: There will be some big political shakeups in the next few months.”

I am still not entirely convinced.  I can see moving some more people within the Administration and Government around.  In fact, I have been expecting it.  But if Sonin truly believes that either of his three predictions will take place, he is (I apologise in advance) dreaming.  And he knows it.  Konstantin Sonin just wants some excitement in his life.

Written by Nina Jobe

October 16, 2009 at 11:12 PM

Pavel Baev

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has a great piece on the Tandemocracy.  He addresses several topics that I have mentioned in previous posts.

First,

The common opinion is that this claim for leadership [in Medvedev’s Gazeta article] can only be taken seriously if it is accompanied by action; but Medvedev escaped from this self-laid trap by departing on his state visit to Switzerland, followed by his trip to the United States.

In paragraph 5, Baev brings up the issue of replacements, and Yury Luzhkov:

The immediate problem for Medvedev is the reshuffling of the cadre that would demonstrate his authority to “hire-and-fire,” which is the main source of power in any bureaucratic system. Replacement of several governors does not quite fit the bill, because the real proof can only be delivered by promoting new people to the higher echelons of federal bureaucracy, while among the regional leaders, the key figure is Moscow’s Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who defends his turf with fierce determination and controls tighter than ever the forthcoming elections to the city Duma (Kommersant-Vlast, September 28).

There are only so many people Medvedev can fire (though I do not exactly like to use that word in reference to the Tandemocracy).  People who are out? Anyone in the Power Ministries really.  These include: Rashid Nurgaliyev, Nikolai Patrushev, Anatoly Serdyukov, and Alexander Bortnikov.  I still hold that the next to go will most likely be Yuri Chaika (possibly after Medvedev’s speech to the Duma next month).

As I’ve discussed previously, Luzhkov’s hold on Moscow is too strong to get rid of him.  I would not rule out Gromov, however.

Baev writes on the happenings in the Executive Office in paragraph 6:

Medvedev may be a master of Kremlin intrigue, but he is clearly stuck with the dilemma of having too few loyalists, who remain rather indifferent to the ideology of “innovation,” and mistrust the awakening reformers who would never prove sufficiently loyal. The Institute of Contemporary Development (INSOR) has tried to position itself as the key think-tank for Medvedev’s strategy, but their economic recommendations are combined with a plea to sack Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the presidential administration, who is in charge of PR (Ekho Moskvy, October 2). Medvedev, however, remains reluctant to relax control over the crucial media instrument –the three national television channels– and keeps Surkov close, not daring even to replace the top speechwriter (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 30).

There’s a lot of information here, so let’s break it up.  “…[Medvedev] is clearly stuck with the dilemma of having too few loyalists, who remain rather indifferent to the ideology of “innovation,” and mistrust the awakening reformers who would never prove sufficiently loyal.”

What Baev seems to be saying is that Medvedev is being pulled in two directions.  First by the Ciliviki (the lawyers, and bureaucrats) who are somewhat scared of change.  Or if not frightened of it, at least (in Baev’s words) “indifferent”.  Second by Yurgens, et al (see page on Institute for Contemporary Development) who perhaps expect too much, and would jump ship when Medvedev did not meet their expectations.

Some interesting news on Slava Surkov:

“The Institute of Contemporary Development (INSOR) has tried to position itself as the key think-tank for Medvedev’s strategy, but their economic recommendations are combined with a plea to sack Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the presidential administration, who is in charge of PR (Ekho Moskvy, October 2).”

Baev also implies that Surkov is tied to (and supports) Dzhakhan Pollyeva (something that does not surprise me in light of their biographies):

“Medvedev, however, remains reluctant to relax control over the crucial media instrument –the three national television channels– and keeps Surkov close, not daring even to replace the top speechwriter (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 30).”

Finally, Baev brings up Anatoly Chubais, and the accusations he is facing over the incident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station.  He concludes:

Many “modernizers” have become guilty by association, which means that Medvedev is left to drag his failing presidency to the conclusion that he was right about the inability of the system to cope with the crisis but wrong about its capacity for reforming itself.

Moscow and Kompromat

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We talk a lot about people having Kompromat.  But nothing ever comes of it.  If I were to pick one person who has real, serious Kompromat, I would choose Yuri Luzhkov.  I cannot really see why else Putin et al. have not done anything about Yuri.  So I am not sure that I entirely buy into this idea that Yuri could be on his way out.  Here is what Viktor Timoffev says:

There are two possible scenarios for the [Moscow] region’s future. Either the Kremlin will appoint a new governor or Moscow and the Moscow region will join as a single municipality, and the newly appointed governor will replace both Gromov and Yury Luzhkov, the legendary Moscow mayor.

This solution would clear up a lot of confusion about Moscow’s status.  And it would be easier to control what goes on in Moscow.  But I still think that Yuri is safe, for the time being.

Timoffev goes on:

Some experts assume that the Kremlin is considering first deputy-prime minister Sergey Sobyanin for the job. One of the experts, who asked for anonimity because he was not authorized to speak on this matter, stated in an interview: “Sobyanin is one of the likeliest perspective candidates for this job and it whould be excellent if he would accept it. Other possible candidates for the position would be another first deputy PM Igor Shuvalov, or deputy PM Zhukov and Kozak.”

Let’s go through this list, shall we?  First, Sergey Sobyanin.  His CV makes him the most ideal candidate. Governor of Tyumen, plus various other admin posts.  In addition his current responsibilities of overseeing the division of power among federal, regional, and municipal levels of government make him very experienced.  However, as the Power Vertical has proved, a resume does not mean anything.  I shall probably repeat this until you get sick of hearing it, but the only thing the Power Vertical requires is a warm body who is at least nominally loyal.  And if we are going on loyalty alone, the most likely candidate from this list is Zhukov.  Because Kozak has shown that he can break out, and there is no way that Putin is letting go of Igor Shuvalov.

Written by Nina Jobe

October 4, 2009 at 12:09 PM