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Russia Enters a Period of Full-Scale Political Crisis

Russia Enters a Period of Full-Scale Political Crisis
Filin Vladimir 18.09.2006

Notorious, in spirit of 90th years, murder of a banker Kozlov, Chubays's announcement about expected switching off electric power in Moscow during the next winter, activation of a "case of Three Whales” and «About the Chinese Contrabanda» within the framework of which some generals of FSB have been dismissed including Vladimir Anisimov who supervised secret-service work in North Caucasian region during Beslan, at last, Kondopoga - all these testify sharp activation of struggle inside the Kremlin before that moment when Vladimir Putin will make the final decision concerning 2008: to stay or appoint the successor, if to appoint the successor – whom then?

«Russia enters a period of full-scale political crisis» - the liberal Alexander Ryklin, who usually speaks what his informed associates only whisper in a lobby, writes. According to his observations, «the state in which scale conflicts on national ground begin, is simply doomed to ruin. In Russia with its total corruption, clan system of authority, omnipotence of inefficient and thievish bureaucracy, absence of real connection between regions, general xenofobia among representatives of law enforcement bodies the process of decomposition will go with such speed, that we won’t notice how the country appears to be plunged into chaos».

Directly accusing authorities and special services in provoking of conflicts on national ground, Ryklin asks a rhetorical question: «whether we seriously believe that Kondopoga, Volsk, Moscow –are only coincidences? Simply, say, it happened so that various groups of citizens in different Russian cities suddenly understood that they can’t live any more side by side with, excuse me, "black". … It is strange that nobody paid attention to such scandalous fact: events in Kondopoga in the most detailed way were covered by federal telechannels. With nuances, with details, with comments of every possible politicians, with opinions of experts in news plots and in final analytical programs. … What is the cause of such unprecedented splash of freedom of speech than?

It is obvious that telechannels received instruction to work out Kondopoga to the maximum. Today such instructions are given out only in the Kremlin».

Behind the slips of the events that are going on Ryklin sees «escalation of war of two most influential Kremlin clans, each of which asserts its own scenario of the future of the country. … Each of them tries to put off Vladimir Putin own model of keeping of authority with the least losses both for the president and for dear themselves. “Security officials" say that the unique way out is Putin's third term, "liberals" - Dmitry Medvedev as the successor.

The Kremlin liberals, Ryklin affirms «do not try to hide any longer all the sharpness of the situation». «In a lobby of a meeting of the president with the western political scientists, - he tells, - the adviser of the president Igor Shuvalov [close to Roman Abramovich, Alexander Voloshin and Alexander Mamut - V.F.] directly and unambiguously spoke out about the danger of new oligarchical conspiracy, about alliance of "security officials" with oil barons». This statement was made on a background of appointment of the son of head of FSB Nikolay Patrushev the adviser of chairman of board of directors of "Rosneft" Igor Sechin who is considered to be the leader of the Kremlin security officials and rumors about forthcoming privatization of "Rosneft".

Besides, Shuvalov appealed to Washington during a meeting forthcoming in October of Putin and Bush to give green light to the introduction of Russia into WTO. As “Financial Times” wrote one of these days, «the USA takes a risk … to help security officials - the conservative supporters of a rigid line connected with power structures - if they will not come to the agreement with Moscow concerning its application for the introduction into WTO, the high-ranked representative of the Kremlin warned [Shuvalov - V.F.]. «If the given decision will not be accepted now, be not surprised if a victory in Russia will be gained by security officials», - the official said on the meeting with foreign journalists and scientists. Observers were surprised that he connected together an application of Russia for the introduction into WTO and old struggle for authority between liberal economists and security officials treated with suspicion everything that concerned economic and political liberalization.

Except for ferrous metallurgy and two or three more branches all the rest Russian economy won’t win from the accelerated connection to WTO and, on the contrary, it will lose, as in a present condition it cannot sustain competition to the foreign goods the doors to the home market for which will be widely opened. Domestic commodity producers do not want to be introduced in WTO. They tried already all the ways of influences on the government and the Kremlin, stating their fears. However the authority does not hear them in general, as they do not have such money to bribes as oligarches – lobbyists have.

At the same time, open opponents of WTO appeared recently in the Kremlin. Especially it became appreciable after the statement of a management of Council of the USA on export of fowl and eggs that tried to dictate what principles Russia should follow in carrying out of internal administration of import quotas and to specify which foreign trade companies suitable to the USA is necessary to give preferences.

However the liberal lobby insisting on accelerated connection to WTO at any cost - Medvedev, Kudrin, Gref, Abramovich, Voloshin, Mordashov, Chubays – is more influential meanwhile in the sphere of economic policy. And it does not stay idle. Finally everything will be clear in October after Putin and Bush's meeting.

In the whole, aggravation of contradictions is obvious. Putin in his own manner holds a pause. Probably, the pause will be prolonged till April - May when to delay decision-making concerning 2008 will be already impossible. It is obvious that Putin will try to define his position on the next spring in view of a concrete situation which will develop for that moment. Conflicting clans have already started now to swing all directions at once. But could it not happen so that at some stage situation will go out of hand? In fact if it will take place, weak Russian statehood could simply not sustain under such pressure.
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