The closer the elections, the tougher the Kremlin

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Last week in the State Duma there were wars for foreign accounts and the property of parliamentarians. Some deputies were in favor of tough measures, others, and even United Russia members, are resisting, trying to save what they have acquired. Domestic media claim that the hand of the Kremlin is felt in this, and the foreign press went much further in their assumptions, accusing the regime of punitive measures against fugitive oligarchs. Everything can be explained simply – until 2018 is already very close, and it is no secret that the election results may turn out differently than expected in the Kremlin. This explains the tightening of policy in relation not only to dissidents, but also to their people..

ICIJ issues information from the list in a metered manner, citing the need for thorough legal protection after each disclosure, as well as data verification. It is possible that this organization is acting in someone’s interests, under the specious pretext of publicizing large-scale tax evasion in order to dictate its terms to companies on the list. Earlier it became known that the ICIJ list, along with dozens of politicians from all over the world, included Ukrainian oligarchs Dmitry Firtash and Rinat Akhmetov.

The day is not far off when ICIJ will publish the names of our compatriots who keep their funds incognito offshore. Russian deputies-oligarchs, influential officials, heads of serious state-owned companies are currently under pressure from the ruling press, which is getting closer and closer to foreign assets, which will definitely force the moneybags to leave their posts. On the other hand, the presence in parliament of not too well-off, financially dependent deputies will make it more manageable, and party assets less influential without a feeding hand.

With the aim of qualitatively changing the composition of the State Duma, removing oligarchic groups from its composition, measures to control the finances of parliamentarians will be strengthened.

On Monday, April 8, the State Duma Anti-Corruption Committee approved proposals to tighten measures to control the financial condition of the deputies. Another innovation was introduced into the previously developed draft law: in addition to the fact that foreign assets will be prohibited for deputies, it is proposed to extend this requirement to candidates for people’s representatives, as well as to a number of categories of civil servants.

The list of persons subject to the ban includes candidates for leadership positions in the public sector, in parliaments at the regional and municipal levels, as well as in the Federation Council. The media dubbed this initiative an attempt to “lumpenize” the authorities and a cunning political move, thanks to which the desire to participate in the election race from wealthy opposition deputies will completely disappear. By the way, Mikhail Prokhorov called such bills “lumpenization” on March 26, directly characterizing such initiatives as a farce and an attempt to weed out talented businessmen from parliament..

The ban will affect not only financial assets, but also jewelry stored in foreign banks, as well as investments in trusts. Nevertheless, it will be a means of dealing not only with political opponents, but also with some worried associates..

Valuev intends to stand to the end, although the round for the preservation of foreign real estate of his wife and party members will not be easy.

As for the foreign real estate of State Duma deputies, Nikolai Valuev entered the battle for it. The United Russia boxer, in a fairly short time, successfully prepared comprehensive amendments to the popular bill banning foreign assets of parliamentarians. Valuev proposed to leave the right of ownership of foreign real estate for those deputies and civil servants who received these assets before taking office.

The closer the elections, the tougher the Kremlin

Commenting on his own legislative initiative, Valuev stressed that in this case, of course, parliamentarians will have to substantiate the funds for the purchase of foreign apartments and houses. It is not yet known what motives the boxer is guided by, who proactively supported his fellow party members. Maybe he developed amendments at the request of other United Russia members. At the same time, Valuev’s wife has real estate in Germany and Spain, so it is possible that the deputy intends to fight only for fear of losing his own apartments, or he will have to put a mandate on the table.

Probably, it was on the experience of anti-corruption laws that were not easy for many deputies that parliamentarians became more circumspect and strengthened their intra-factional control over the legislative initiatives of their party members. According to Vladimir Ovsyannikov, deputy head of the LDPR parliamentary faction, the deputies are ready to create a working group for a preliminary analysis of projects in order to timely screen out obviously inexpedient and also conflicting parties. LDPR is the last faction in which such a group is not yet active.

In “United Russia”, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and “Fair Russia” these structures, designed to check the projects of the deputies of their own factions, are already working. According to Ovsyannikov, the group, consisting mainly of lawyers, will have to prevent the submission to the State Duma of bills of liberal democrats that would have a negative social response or simply spoil the party’s image among the people. In “United Russia”, these functions are assigned to the expert advisory council, created in November 2012.

Russian economy of bribes

While the deputies are fighting for their apartments abroad, the president intends to cleanse the ranks of officials from corruption. Doomsday is set for July 1, when the last income declarations of civil servants will be submitted. The first officials on whom the new presidential decrees on the declaration of funds will be tested will be government officials. Recall that control over the verification of the accuracy of the data recorded by officials in income declarations is entrusted to the head of the presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov..

The latter gave civil servants a delay of three months until July 1, as if prompting that until that time they must get rid of all assets that could raise questions from regulatory and law enforcement agencies. The media claim that, even despite a three-month respite, dishonest government officials will not have time or will not be able to hide all their assets, acquired in a not entirely honest or completely illegal way. So, first of all, the data of government officials of Dmitry Medvedev will be checked, after them – parliamentarians and representatives of the Federation Council.

The “turnover” of bribes in the Russian Federation last year reached $ 300 billion, while at the same time only 20% of large corruption cases go to court.

I would like to believe that the presidential initiatives will increase the effectiveness of measures to combat corruption, but over the 12 years of leadership of the ruling political force, the situation has only worsened. It is unlikely that the next innovations will be able to radically change the situation. On April 9, Kirill Kabanov, head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, released the annual statistics on bribes in Russia. According to Kabanov, “corruption turnover” reached $ 300 billion, of which about $ 270 billion is in the public sector.

The closer the elections, the tougher the Kremlin

A large share of bribes circulates in the area of ​​alienation and lease of municipal and state property, procurement tenders for budget money. The rest of the bribes – about $ 30 billion – is the so-called grassroots corruption (buying certificates, paying doctors, teachers, housing office workers, and so on). It is in this category that the largest number of criminal cases brought to court are recorded. According to Vyacheslav Lebedev, the chairman of the Supreme Court of Russia, 80% of court cases of corruption involve bribes in the amount of up to 10 thousand rubles. Thus, the “big fish” accounts for only every fifth case.

According to the Main Directorate of Economic Security and Anti-Corruption of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in 2012 the average bribe was 2.2 million rubles. By the way, the Ministry of Internal Affairs does not forget its people when carrying out the cleansing of government agencies from corrupt officials. So, the day of cosmonautics became the last day of service of Mikhail Martyushev as deputy head of the Moscow traffic police department. The decision to dismiss Martyushev was made by Vladimir Kolokoltsev, the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. The reason for such a harsh punishment was the revealed facts of the trade in driving licenses..

So, it turned out that the employees of the Moscow State Traffic Safety Inspectorate issued a driver’s license to everyone who wanted it without exams. The price for the rights was stable – 28 thousand rubles. As for the head of the Moscow State Traffic Safety Inspectorate, Alexander Ilyin, he received “incomplete official compliance”, that is, the next time, with the slightest offense, he may well lose his place. Anatoly Yakunin, head of the Moscow Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, was also warned of insufficient work with personnel..

Western paranoia: Russian special services and Putin are wanted

The investigation into the death of Boris Berezovsky literally saved the life of another Russian oligarch, Andrei Borodin. On Monday, The Daily Mirror reported that British law enforcement officers conducting an investigation into the death of Berezovsky accidentally revealed a scheme to assassinate the former head of the Bank of Moscow. Borodin has already turned to the British police in December 2012 with a statement that he was being threatened, but the available data to arrest the killer was not enough.

The closer the elections, the tougher the Kremlin

The oligarch was granted political asylum in the UK in 2011 and currently lives in Henley-on-Thames (Oxfordshire). The distance between the mansions of Borodin and Berezovsky is 22 kilometers. The suspected perpetrator has been detained. The amount of payment for the murder of Borodin was more than a million dollars, but the customer’s plans this time were not destined to come true. According to British media reports, Andrei Borodin funded human rights organizations opposing the regime of Vladimir Putin.

Russian law enforcement officials say that “work” on Borodin is not a political order, but an investigation of his illegal activities.

According to Russian law enforcement officers, Borodin is a swindler who stole almost 12 billion rubles ($ 9.6 million) and hid from the investigation in 2010. The Russian authorities still hope to return the unwanted oligarch to his homeland. The Prosecutor General’s Office plans to appeal to British law enforcement agencies with a request to deprive Borodin of his political refugee status.

Berezovsky’s assets will not be left alone either. At the announcement of the will and the distribution of the inheritance, our bailiffs will be present, working to collect the debts of the late billionaire – this information was shared by the head of the service Artur Parfenchikov. At the same time, British lawyers working in the interests of Aeroflot and the Samara government are already claiming that Berezovsky has skillfully dispersed funds all over the world, so that it will be almost impossible to find the money that is in deeply hidden structures.

Finnish police have declared Vladimir Putin a criminal. He was put on the wanted list, but the actions of the operatives against the Russian president were prevented by the Finnish prosecutor’s office.

The Finnish police put Vladimir Putin on the list of criminals wanted by law enforcement agencies. This statement was made on April 11 by the head of the presidential press service Dmitry Peskov. Peskov described Putin’s reaction to this information as “ironic.” The presidential press secretary clarified that the Finns have already reported that Putin’s inclusion in the list is a misunderstanding, and allegedly apologized.

The closer the elections, the tougher the Kremlin

Official Moscow is not going to react in any way on this matter. Vladimir Putin was added to the list of wanted criminals at the end of March, which has already been confirmed by Robin Lardo, the head of the Finnish police department. This fact is being studied by the Finnish Prosecutor General’s Office, which, based on the results of the consideration of the case, will decide whether to initiate a criminal case against the persons who made this mistake. The Associated Press reports Putin has been listed as a wanted criminals for ties to the Night Wolves biker team.

On Thursday, April 11, Yuri Levada’s analytical center (Levada Center) released the results of a sociological survey, according to which it turned out that 55% of Russians surveyed would like to see another person in the presidency in 2018. 22% will vote for Vladimir Putin and 8% for Dmitry Medvedev. Most of the respondents said that it does not matter to them what political force the new president will represent, the main thing is that it is no longer either Vladimir Putin or Dmitry Medvedev. According to Aleksey Grazhdankin, deputy director of the center, for the first time the 50% barrier, the number of Russian citizens who are simply tired of the current president, was crossed in March.

Accordingly, the number of supporters of Putin and Medvedev is steadily declining. Political analysts assume that the current head of state understands this and has already selected several potential successors for himself, but their names are kept in strict confidence. One thing is certain – Dmitry Medvedev is definitely not among them. Earlier, analysts at Minchenko Consulting stated that ex-Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov could be such candidates..

The closer the elections, the tougher the Kremlin

On the same day, the head of “MMM” Sergei Mavrodi announced his intentions to run for president of the country. The scandalous schemer said that his structure can rightfully be the only one to act as an opposition force. Mavrodi believes that this must be counted not just as his desire, but also the desire to fulfill his obligatory civic duty. Sergei Mavrodi believes that the main advantage that MMM possesses is a strong economic program. By the way, in the nineties he had a real chance to head the Kremlin, but the time of fantastic opportunities for extraordinary businessmen has already passed irrevocably..

Two candidates have already announced their desire to become the country’s presidents – Mavrodi and Navalny.

The head of the Rospil fund, opposition Internet celebrity Alexei Navalny, is also going to take part in the presidential race. As an election program, Navalny announced a change in life in the country and a reform of public administration. The popular blogger promised that under his leadership Russia will become a European country, and oil and gas revenues will work for the welfare of its citizens. Navalny also compared Russians with Estonians, noting very accurately that the former are no worse than the latter..

The leadership of the “People’s Alliance”, created on the initiative of the oppositionist, intends to register its movement in the status of a party, for which it submitted the relevant documents to the Ministry of Justice. This will allow Alliance to nominate its presidential candidate. It is noteworthy that Navalny himself is not a member of this organization. “Alliance” is gaining strength, the number of regional branches has already reached 44. According to the law, the Ministry of Justice must give an official answer within a month, so that already in the first ten days of May we will find out whether Navalny will have a chance to propose to Russia his candidacy for the presidency of the country. Nevertheless, it is possible that his plans are not destined to come true, since Navalny is confident that the court will issue a guilty verdict in the Kirovles case.

The closer the elections, the tougher the Kremlin

So, in 2010, Navalny made a commercial offer to the management of this company. A contract was signed, as a result of which, according to law enforcement officers, Kirovles lost 16 million rubles. A criminal case was opened against Navalny, which was closed several times and reopened by various investigating authorities. The next trial is scheduled for April 17th. As the representative of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Vladimir Markin testified, the investigation is being carried out “in an accelerated version” and almost literally stated that this is due to the authorities’ dislike for the blogger’s aggressive opposition activities. Alexei Navalny connects this with the publication of data on embezzlement in Transneft, which he posted on the Internet shortly before the initiation of the case. According to the Criminal Code, Navalny can go to jail for 10 years.

By the way, the authorities are taking sanctions not only against opponents of the existing regime. Own officials who criticize the policies of the Kremlin or the government also suffer. So, on April 10, the Moscow State Law Academy discussed a new pension formula developed by the Ministry of Labor and submitted to the government for consideration..

Kremlin official’s careless criticism of pension reform sparks an angry reaction from the presidential administration.

Unfortunately for himself, the discussion was attended by Yuri Voronin, head of the presidential administration’s department for socio-economic cooperation with the CIS states, who shared his opinion with the meeting participants. The voiced reasoning clearly spoke not in favor of the pension reform. Journalists, of course, on the same day hastened to provide the media with quotes from Voronin’s speech. So, the Kremlin official considered that the introduction of the National Welfare Fund along with individual savings is an inappropriate step..

The closer the elections, the tougher the Kremlin

In addition, Voronin made it clear that the increase in people’s well-being is not influenced by pension formulas, but only by an increase in the size of payments. There is no need to doubt his competence – at one time Voronin worked as deputy head of the Ministry of Labor.

The reaction of Voronin’s high-ranking chiefs to criticism of the actions of the authorities was quite prompt – the press service of the presidential administration announced the very next day that an investigation would be carried out against the critical manager and it was possible that he would be brought to disciplinary responsibility. At the same time, to our great regret, the Kremlin did not receive official comments on the essence of Voronin’s statement, therefore it looked as always – just an indicative flogging.

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