#8 - JRL 7249
CRISIS OF FAMILY VALUES
NEW BUREAUCRATIC AND OLIGARCHIC GROUPS ARE TO APPEAR IN RUSSIA
Author: Nikolai Silayev
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST YUKOS INDICATES THAT THE TRADITIONAL PARITY IN THE CIRCLES CLOSE TO PRESIDENT PUTIN IS RUINED. CONSTRUCTION OF NEW BUREAUCRATIC-OLIGARCHIC GROUPS IS UNDER WAY.
Platon Lebedev and Aleksei Pichugin are still behind the bars (or where, hen this issue was printed). Vladimir Putin remains silent. His subordinates are more talkative but rather passive. Viktor Khristenko, Deputy Premier in charge of the fuel and energy complex, said something to the effect "sort out the mess as soon as possible, will you?". His patron Mikhail Kasianov was quoted as saying that Lebedev should not have been jailed.
Some observers pinned certain hopes on the bureau of the Russian Union of Businessmen and Entrepreneurs. It discussed the "YUKOS episode" last Wednesday and even wrote a letter to the president. It may be added, however, that authors of the document stick to abstract notions - Vladimir Vladimirovich, let us preserve stability in the country, and all that.
The latest developments did not even spark a war of informational resources. Only one website notorious for participation in suchlike paper and e-mil hostilities featured a text represented as telephone conversations of Sergei Bogdanchikov (Rosneft), the man some observers view as the mastermind behind the anti-YUKOS campaign. And exiled Boris Berezovsky gave a lengthy interview that came down to the conclusion that "we will all be jailed sooner or later."
This magazine has already advanced the hypothesis that YUKOS paid Roman Abramovich much more than what his Sibneft really cost in return for Director of the Presidential Administration Alexander Voloshin's support and support of the Family clan in general. Has the money been wasted?
There exist troubles in Russia even Voloshin cannot safeguard one from. Floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and president's fears for his own rating. It may be added that Mikhail Khodorkovsky's ill-fated statement that he was going in for politics after 45 contained a quite clear context. Something that boils down to the assumption that "there are no worthy men there but have no fears, I'm going to remedy that." And that is something that concerns the president's rating.
But why the overkill? Or rather, why did the Family fail to minimize the threat to Khodorkovsky? There is only one explanations here. Alexander Voloshin's clan is not as omnipotent as everybody believes. As a matter of fact, it has not been omnipotent for a long time already. Observers cannot help noticing that the Family does not control any more or less important and powerful security ministry.
To begin with, the Family lost control over Sibneft, its major asset it used to owe its economic might to. The company went over to Khodorkovsky this spring.
Moreover, serious changes took place in the position of Kasianov, on of the Family's administrative pillars. Igor Shuvalov, Chief of the Government Apparatus, and his deputy Aleksandra Levitskaya were fired in late May.
According to some analysts, Shuvalov and Levitskaya have been the Family's observers monitoring the Cabinet and Kasianov. Their dismissal means that Kasianov split from the Voloshin's clan or, at the very least, the Family control over the premier has seriously weakened.
There is one other nuance that has to be taken into account. There are the rumors that the campaign against renegades in uniforms may have a direct effect on Vladimir Rushailo, Secretary of the Security Council and one of the most prominent members of the Family clan. Organizers of the campaign hint that General Ganeev of the Emergency Ministry could not be a chieftain of the gang comprising police officers only. Besides, there is a political aspect to the matter. Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov and Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu are leaders of the United Russia.
Watching the Family clan disintegrate and YUKOS under attack, one may think that this is the long-awaited revolution in the Russian political establishment and that men from St. Petersburg have finally licked the Family. Unfortunately, this is much too simple a picture.
In theory, men from St. Petersburg are exceptionally strong. They control a number of key ministries, the whole security bloc, and the best slices of the state property pie - Gazprom and Rosneft. Men from St. Petersburg even have their own financial-ideological genius - a truly Russian banker Sergei Pugachev.
Unfortunately, their circle is not monolithic. It includes ex-KGB men like Director of the Federal Security Service Nikolai Patrushev, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, and Viktor Ivanov, Deputy Director of the Presidential Administration. It also includes liberal economists Aleksei Kudrin and Herman Gref. Moreover, particularly prominent members of the circle have direct access to the president and some of them (at least Kudrin, Ivanov, and Gryzlov) aspire for premiership. All of that cannot help breeding jealousy and internal strife.
There will be no new and bigger Family. There will be several smaller Families in Russia soon. The first indications that the process of their construction is under way are already visible. Head of MDM-Group Aleksei Melnichenko defected from Voloshin's clan to side up with Kasianov. Vladimir Potanin of Interros chose security ministers. He recently extolled the United Russia and publicly apologized for his old oligarchic sins. There are even the rumors that Pugachev and Potanin were among initiators of the anti-YUKOS campaign.
(Translated by A. Ignatkin)