The Bald-Hairy Theory of Russian Leaders. I guess this is kind of like how every odd numbered Star Trek movie sucks. Anyway, this is courtesy of Veronica Khokhlova’s run down of Russian Live Journal reactions to Medvedev’s inauguration. It also seems that there are good and bad sides to Kremlin Inc. Sure they provide no space for any opposition and forces people to attend useless Dissenters’ Marches, but at least the inauguration briefly cleaned up Moscow traffic. Says LJ user dolboeb (Anton Nossik):
Dear Dmitry Anatolyevich,
Congratulations on assuming your new post. I hope you enjoyed the ceremony as much as I did. I thank you for providing me with a rare opportunity to see daytime Moscow without traffic jams. Please consider holding inaugurations once every week, preferably on Wednesdays. I think this could contribute to solving many traffic problems of the Russian capital.
Perhaps Kremlin Inc. can bring a few to Los Angeles?
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By Sean — 9 years ago
A few weeks ago, Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia’s top officials would reveal their incomes as part of an anti-corruption campaign. When I heard this I wondered whether that disclosure would include any of the money they’ve most likely picked up over the last eight years. After all, Medvedev was the chair of Gazprom’s board of directors, and one would suspect he was compensated heavily for his service. However, when he stated his finances for the presidential election, Dima was pretty much broke by American power player standards. Since 2007, Putin has been rumored to have a hefty $40 billion squirreled away in some unknown bank account.
The tandem released their incomes today, and one can only assume that while Medvedev and Putin might have earned $124,000 and $137,000 respectively, I seriously doubt this is the full number and certainly not full disclosure of their wealth.
Both men earn over 18 times Russia’s average wage of 230,000 rubles per year.
Medvedev has the larger apartment, a 368-square-meter Moscow residence that dwarves Putin’s 77-square-meter flat in Saint Petersburg, the declarations showed. But both men spend most of their time in their palatial state residences.
. . .
Putin also owns a garage, two classic cars, a trailer and a 1,500 square meter plot of land, his declaration said. He also has share holdings with a nominal value of 230,000 rubles.
Medvedev and his wife have bank deposits worth just under 3 million rubles and 4,700 square meters of land. His wife has two car parking spaces and a Volkswagen Golf.
It’s interesting that Putin, as Prime Minister, earns more than the President. But not by much.
Perhaps, what is more interesting is how Medvedev’s salary compares to that of other world leaders. Barack Obama tops the list with a paycheck of $400,000 a year. But this is chump change compared to the $4.2 million Obama earned from book sales in 2007. And now with his own full fledged cult of personality, Brand Obama is a potential bottomless well of profit.
Obama’s high is followed by Ireland’s Brian Cowen who rakes in roughly $380,000, France’s Nicholas Sarkozy’s $355,000, Angela Merkel’s $337,000; and Britain’s Gordon Brown who gets $294,000.
Poor (that is for reported income) Dima is in last place with an annual Presidential salary of $99,000.
As we all well known public office isn’t what pays. What really pays are the connections, greasy handshakes, and back room dealings. I suspect this is how the Clintons earned $109 million (which I also doubt is full disclosure) from 2000 to 2007. And once that government-corporate revolving door begins to spin after leaving office, look out. Pay-dirt. When they finally leave office, I’m sure Putin, Medvedev, Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown, and Cowen will be amply compensated for their time.Post Views: 248
By Sean — 10 years ago
And the winna is? Dmitry Medvedev. Putin named the young economic liberal as his presidential favorite in a meeting with United Russia leaders today. What is interesting is not so much what Putin chose, but what he didn’t choose. Putin didn’t choose the siloviki. He didn’t choose the economic nationalists. He didn’t choose the hawks. In Medvedev, Putin has endorsed someone’s who’s young (he’s 42), more liberal economic minded (he considers himself a liberal patriot), clanless (he’s said to have little or no ties to other Kremlin power brokers), and loyal (his rise is solely reliant on Putin). By most accounts, Medvedev looks at the West as a shining guiding light, but shades his eyes enough so it doesn’t blind him from Russia’s national sovereignty.
But does Putin’s endorsement officially end “Operation Successor”? Hardly. According to the Guardian, conspiracy theories of Putin’s return are hard to shake. After all, what is a poor Russia watcher to do without Putin? Clearly, his endorsement of Medvedev is hardly enough to satisfy critics’ deep desire, yet ultimate fear that Putin might just be leaving.
For critics see a weak leader in Medvedev. One that as President will give Putin the Prime Minister a blank check to do whatever he wants. Well, that’s true. But by all accounts, Putin may be leaving the Presidency, but there has never be any indication that he will leave Russian politics.
In fact, as some see it, Medvedev’s nomination is merely part of Putin’s larger plan to return.”Putin’s plan may well be to return after a year or two once Medvedev has messed up. But I don’t think he will succeed in this,” Mikhail Delyagin, the director of Moscow’s Institute on Globalization Problems told the Guardian’s Luke Harding. On Ekho Moskvy, Duma oppositionist Vladimir Ryzhkov said that this is all part of the Putin strategy. “The strategy is as follows: Medvedev is a compromise choice because he will allow Putin to keep a free hand.” he said. “If Putin wants to gradually leave power, Medvedev guarantees him comfort and security and will continue to listen him.” He then added: “If Putin wants to return in two, three years… Medvedev will be the person who will without a doubt give up the path for him.”
This is still an unfolding story and more will be discussed in the coming days. However, even at these early stages, one thing is clear. No matter what Putin does to show that he’s leaving the Presidency, his very own critics just won’t let him go. As Michael Corleone declared in Godfather III: “Just when I think I’m out, they keep pulling me back in.”Post Views: 152
By Sean — 8 years ago
What follows is basically an incomplete rundown of some of the commentary coming out of Russia. It’s mostly based on the Russian language media since, frankly, much of the English language media is worthless with some notable exceptions. Topics include: Russian liberal narcissism, the question of blame, the tandem’s temperament, alleged racist retaliation, alleged cabbie extortion, paranoia and fear, outrage at Russia’s federal television channels, Moscovites’ public expressions mourning and loss.