Active pre-election campaign has been going on in Russia. Not the campaign announced by Putin’s decree in the Rossiskaya Gazeta (fittingly, the Russian Newspaper). Honestly, I don’t even know what parties are participating and what finger of the power’s hand will get some bench in the Duma. I have no wish to put all that stuff into my head.
What I’m talking about are real parties who are sharing money and influence.
For example, the Tverskoi Court arrested the stock of Russneft. The haste it was done with is just astonishing! What really happened? It is considered that there were two aspirants for Russneft. They are Rosneft where the chair is mighty deputy chief of the President‘s Administartion Igor Sechin and the Head of Bazel, Deripaska. Deripaska bought Russneft with the Putin’s permission and under the promise to resell this asset to the state.
Well, he bought it. And he promised. So he will resell. What was the reason of arresting the company’s stock?
The reason is that if Medvedev or Ivanov became the President, Deripaska could change his mind and not sell Russneft to a company controlled by Sechin. If Deripaska didn’t sell Russneft after the President’s election then influence by Sechin would decrease. And again, failing to pull Russnegt from Deripaska before the election would mean Sechin’s weight coming down.
In other words, hunting for Russneft is not a question of business. It’s a question of political weight by near-president’s clans, the weight measured by billions of dollars.
Here is another story about arresting Vladimir Kumarin, who is the capo of St. Petersburg. This story is not commercial again. Kumarin’s empire is great but anyone who tried to take it away, if he is not Kumarin, would have it slipping through his fingers. What’s the gem of this empire, named Petersburg’s Fuel Company? Nothing but a gas station network. And if near each gas station there were not a gloomy looking leatherjacket, no gas station would be giving profits. And it’s only Kumarin who has gloomy looking leatherjackets at his disposal.
Petersburg is a criminal city not because there are a lot of bandits there. It’s criminal because the bandits are the city’s elite. And these elite, especially Kumarin, used to know all the current politicians who come from Petersburg. Judging from the staff that was responsible for Kumarin’s arrest, it was again Sechin’s clan’s victory over opposing to it the top brass.
Another global redivision going on is the one of the pharmaceutical market. Practically all largest Russian pharmaceutical distributors, including Protek and Biotek have been offered to sell their firms. Redevision is being made calmly. No one is complaining, differently from Gutseriev. It is inappropriate to raise a hue and cry as every player in the market was involved in the corruption affairs. But anyway, we are talking about companies with the modern logistics and up-to-date storing facilities; the companies who were planning IPO and who were negotiating with the giants of the world pharmaceutical industry. And now they are just being smothered in the corner – before election comes.
Not only business, but the whole regions are being taken hastily. In Sakhalin Putin appointed the governor loyal to Gazprom, in the Samara region the new governor came from Rosoboronexport (a state defense corporation).
New state corporations are being formed in haste and are given incredible benefits and privileges. Putin in his address promised to allot $5 billions for nanotechnology development. Corporations are granted to high rank Kremlin officials like the noble in the tsar’s times were granted lands and serfs. The budget has been approved unprecedentedly for three years ahead in order to keep the existing rules of sharing the state treasury for 2008-2010.
This is the real pre-election campaign. It counts not votes, but billions. No one knows who is going to become the successor but everyone understands that any successor means crucial change in the mechanism of distribution of property and influence. Each Kremlin clan is trying to hoard up as much budget and non-budget billions as possible and to take more companies and lands in the hope that the greater capitalization of the clan is, measured in billions, property and megabytes of compromising materials, the greater will be the extent to which the new President will have to consider this powerful force that can crush, buy or just kill.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the official parties have no more relation to this real pre-election campaign than dressed up ladies in the balls had to the battle of Waterloo. It’s important to realize that the State Duma doesn’t mean anything now not because of lack of opposition in it, but because the clans struggling under the carpet, they don’t use the Duma as a place for squaring of accounts. Those clans despise publicity and they despise even their own “pocket parties”. Whether Rosneft will take over Russneft does not depend on the United Russia party. Whether Rosoboronexport will get iron-and-steel works in the City of Magnitogorsk does not depend on Mironov.
If one wants to see the real state of political things, one should see who was put in the Lefortovo prison and what the Basmanny Court has decided.