#8 - JRL 7205
May 30, 2003
YELTSIN'S FAMILY: DIFFICULT TIMES
A new political alliance is being created
Author: Valery Solovei
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
RUSSIA NEEDS A STRONG CENTRALIZED GOVERNMENT CAPABLE OF PROVIDING THE STABILITY SO IMPORTANT FOR THE NATION AND ITS LARGE COMPANIES. AN OLIGARCHIC REPUBLIC SYSTEM IS DEFINITELY UNABLE TO CREATE SUCH A GOVERNMENT, AND IT COULD LEAD TO THE BREAKUP OF RUSSIA.
The notorious "Yeltsin's Family" is a financial-political clan that arose in the Yeltsin era. It has long caused the annoyance among other groups due to its economic power and exclusive political influence. Until recently they have put up with this supposing the Family was inert and gradually declining. However, the family refuses to agree with such estimates and lately it has started a real political and economic expansion. The mergence of Sibneft and YUKOS should be considered from this viewpoint.
The economic meaning of this event for the Family is receiving free means for buying up energy assets in order to monitor the reforming Russian Joint Energy Systems (RJES). The Family is close to achieving this goal. The objective of reforming the Communications Ministry is similar.
It is unnecessary to explain what it means in Russia to control energy and transportation infrastructure. In fact, it means a total control of the country which is much more efficient that the whole power hierarchy. It is also difficult to imagine a political or economic group that would humbly accepted the current events.
The political meaning of the tandem is also rather transparent - it unites its efforts irmat the Russian political field and transform Russia from a presidential into a parliamentary- presidential republic. This power system will make it possible for the leading tycoon group to convert its economic monopoly into political monopoly and for good relieve itself from the possible threat from the top power.
Although it seems that in these terms, the alliance of two groups is targeting at common tycoon objectives, other "columns" of the Russian economy are watching the present events with horror foreseeing losses and damages from such changes rather than benefits and profits. This estimation of the situation has made it possible to create another alliance in the Russian politics.
It is an open secret that until now the economic resources of the "security structures" - the main opponent of the Family - have been rather limited and the attitude of tycoons towards them was grounded watchful. However, of late, this attitude has started changing, mostly due to the alliance of the Family and Khodorkovsky.
It turned out that it is a real threat for both the "security structures", whose political shares will fall to null in case of a constitutional reform, and Russian magnates, who are likely to be forced to beg for energy and transportation "favors" in the immediate future.
Besides, there is a so-called national reason: a number of large corporations have decided that Russia needs a strong centralized government capable of providing the stability so important for the nation and its large companies. An oligarchic republic system is definitely unable to create such a government, and it could lead to the breakup of Russia. Hence, it was necessary to form an alliance with the "security structures" on the following conditions: corporations support the security structures in exchange to admitting them to be "system-forming" and national; the legacy of the Family can be divided for mutual satisfaction. At the same time, any anti-Family moves would have vast public support, thus providing a new long-term credit of trust for the regime.
Besides, the situation inside the Family also makes it possible to attack it: aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska has a rather tense relationship with Khodorkovsky, and the pro-American policy of the Family is damaging to his economic interests; Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov has long since become an independent figure and the guardianship of the Family is burdensome for him. Overall, there are significant internal disagreements in the Family that may lead to a split. It is difficult to predict whether the aforementioned suppositions will ever become true. However, the steady contacts between the security structure team and earlier neutral tycoons have been established and some moves to create a new alliance have been made. The sharply intensified activities of security structures for discovering foreign accounts of Russian "nouveau riches" seem to be a meaningful hint for those who believe they are almost on the top of the power. Russian God often changes everything at the very last minute.
(Translated by Arina Yevtikhova )