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#5 - JRL 7227
A Joke of An Appointment

June 18. Hell has frozen over. (But, then, it seems to do that a lot in Russia today, where the counterintuitive and even the absurd can be commonplace.) St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev has received a promotion.

Now, as new deputy prime minister in charge of the housing and communal utilities sector, and with an Order of Merit Before the Fatherland of the Fourth Degree under his belt - awarded by President Vladimir Putin, he will have a great new trough at which to feed.

If any more proof were necessary that one's position in the Russian political elite depends not on results, or even on competence, but on connections, this is it.

Yakovlev's main accomplishment since he became governor has been to transform St. Petersburg from a city with a reputation as being Russia's Mafia Capital to a city with a reputation for being Russia's Corruption Capital. Putin himself repeatedly berated the St. Petersburg government in the run-up to the city's 300th anniversary celebrations for massive misappropriations of funds allocated to prepare for the event.

And this is how he is punished. One wonders what the rewards for actually being competent would be: a demotion, or a prison term perhaps? In the Looking Glass world of Russian politics, this may well be the case.

Yakovlev as a deputy prime minister is a joke of an appointment - of the kind that makes you want to laugh or, more likely, cry.

Rosbalt would like to thank The Russia Journal for this article.

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