Revolutionizing Awareness

helping humanity, make choices, more so through awareness, than ignorance

Posts Tagged ‘Kremlin’

Russia’s Putin considering Kremlin return: sources

Posted by Admin on July 28, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/russias-putin-considering-kremlin-return-sources-121459651.html;_ylt=AoIno6lF81k3AzVvIhoqwgNvaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTM5ZXFpbTNrBHBrZwM1ZjEyZDJhYy0yYzdiLTM2NzQtYmU3Mi0zOWMzOTlhZDhjYWUEcG9zAzUEc2VjA01lZGlhVG9wU3RvcnkEdmVyAzYyNTAzYzkwLWI4NjgtMTFlMC04ZWZkLTMyZGVmN2YyMzlmMQ–;_ylg=X3oDMTFqOTI2ZDZmBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdAN3b3JsZARwdANzZWN0aW9ucw–;_ylv=3

By Guy Faulconbridge | Reuters – 2 hrs 37 mins ago

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is close to a decision to bid for the presidency in an election next year because he has doubts about his protege, President Dmitry Medvedev, senior political sources say.

Putin ruled as president from 2000 to 2008 before handing over to Medvedev to comply with a constitutional ban on a third consecutive term. He will be free to run in the March presidential election.

Putin, 58, and Medvedev, 45, have repeatedly refused to say which of them will run but as Russia‘s paramount leader, officials and diplomats say the decision is Putin’s.

“I think Putin is going to run, that he has already decided to,” said a highly placed source who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the political situation.

The source said Putin had been troubled by the perception that his protege, whom he has known for more than two decades, did not have sufficient support among the political and business elite or the electorate to ensure stability if he pushed ahead with plans for political reform.

“Putin has much more support from the people than Medvedev. Medvedev has overestimated his weight inside the system,” he said.

Another highly placed source who declined to be identified said: “Putin wants to return, really wants to return.”

The source said an attempt by Medvedev to assert his authority in recent months had unsettled Putin, but the two leaders communicated well on a regular basis.

A third source also said Putin was thinking of running and that if he became president he could appoint a reformist prime minister, an apparent attempt to dispel fears that his return would usher in a period of stagnation two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Investors see few differences between the two leaders’ policies but many say privately that Medvedev would be more likely to carry out reforms than Putin.

Medvedev’s spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, dismissed talk of any discord between them.

“I do not quite understand where these rumors come from because the president and the prime minister communicate not only on formal issues, but informally too,” Timakova said.

A senior Kremlin source said it was up to the people, not the elite, who ruled Russia.

“The discussion should be not about support within the elite but about who has more support from the people,” the Kremlin source said. “Support from the elite is not always decisive for the country to move forward.”

Asked whether Putin was considering a return to the Kremlin, the prime minister’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said: “Vladimir Vladimirovich is working, working hard, rather than thinking about whether to run in the election.”

BATMAN AND ROBIN?

Most officials and foreign diplomats believe that, as the ultimate arbiter between the powerful clans that make up the Russian elite, Putin will have the final say on who will run in 2012.

As Russia’s most popular politician and leader of the ruling party, Putin would be almost certain to win a newly extended six-year term if he decided to return to the presidency.

He could also then run again for another term from 2018 to 2024, a quarter of a century since he rose to power in late 1999. He would turn 72 on October 7, 2024.

The picture of Russia’s “alpha-dog” ruler eyeing another Kremlin term corresponds to the assessment of U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle who cast Medvedev as playing “Robin to Putin’s Batman,” according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.

“Russia’s bicephalous ruling format is not likely to be permanent based on Russian history and current tandem dynamics,” Beyrle wrote in February 2010 according to a copy of the cable on http:/wikileaks.org/cable/2010/02/10MOSCOW272.html

Because of Medvedev’s weakness in relation to Putin, the Kremlin chief’s attempt to present himself as anything other than Putin’s loyal protege has puzzled investors and irked some of the officials who make up part of Putin’s court.

In a host of choreographed public events, Medvedev has pitched himself as the right man for Russia, calling for opening up the tightly controlled political system crafted by Putin and even reportedly lobbying Russia’s powerful tycoons for support.

A Kremlin insider said it appeared that both Medvedev and Putin wanted to be president, but that the tandem had not shown itself to be an effective way to rule Russia.

“Neither Medvedev nor Putin have shown that this construction is stable,” said the source, who added that talk of any discord was overblown and that Putin had shown his confidence in Medvedev by steering him into the Kremlin in 2008.

Asked about Medvedev, the source said: “He is not stupid but he is not a brilliant manager and I am not completely convinced he has enough steel… Putin does not plan to leave power anytime soon.”

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)

About these ads

Posted in Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Khodorkovsky found guilty as protests mount against Putin and ‘charade’ trial

Posted by Admin on December 31, 2010

http://www.headlinenewsbureau.com/siterun_data/news/world/doc8ac71af75251466f60756bf50c507c62.html

Khodorkovsky found guilty as protests mount against Putin and ‘charade’ trial

Extended term expected for jailed former oil tycoon as supporters cite Kremlin influence in political trial

The fate of oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was left hanging in the balance today after a court in Moscow found him guilty of theft and money laundering in a politically tinged trial that is seen as a weathervane for Russia’s future course.

Viktor Danilkin, the trial judge, told the packed court that Khodorkovsky, 47, and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, 54, “carried out the embezzlement of property entrusted to the defendants”.

But the trial remains delicately poised because Danilkin will not sentence until he finishes reading his full 250-page verdict, which could take several days.

Opposing factions in the Kremlin are said to be in dispute over how much longer the businessman, who has already spend seven years in jail on earlier fraud charges, should stay behind bars.

Khodorkovsky, wearing a scuffed black jacket, and Lebedev, in a white tracksuit top, whispered to each other inside the enclosed dock and ignored the judge as he said the court had established their guilt.

Hundreds of protesters outside the court in the Khamovniki district of southern Moscow shouted “freedom” and “Russia without Putin”. Police arrested about 20 people, dragging them out of the crowd and crushing their placards.

Speaking during a recess, Khodorkovsky’s lead lawyer, Vadim Klyuvgant, said: “The trial was a charade of justice, the charges were absolutely false, but I fear the sentencing will be very real.”

Yury Shmidt, another lawyer, said Danilkin was “not talking, but droning” through his verdict.

Supporters of Khodorkovsky, who part-owned the Yukos oil company and was once Russia’s richest man, say the Kremlin controls the court system and singled him out for punishment because he funded opposition politicians.

The oligarch has been in prison since he was seized by special forces as his plane landed to refuel on a Siberian runway in 2003. A court sentenced him and Lebedev to eight years in prison two years later, but a trial on fresh charges of embezzling $25bn (£16bn) of oil began last year.

Analysts say the length of the sentence, which is expected this week or in early January, will show which of two Kremlin clans – the siloviki (security and military veterans) associated with Vladimir Putin, the prime minister , and the liberals grouped mainly around the president, Dmitry Medvedev – has gained supremacy in the country.

Prosecutors want the men to stay in prison until 2017, and Putin said this month that “a thief should be in jail” when he was asked about the trial. Medvedev, however, has distanced himself from the case and said on Friday that “neither the president nor any other official in public service have the right to express their stance on this before the verdict is delivered.”

The friction over Khodorkovsky channels into a wider debate over which man from Russia’s “ruling tandem” will stand for the presidency in 2012. US diplomats believe Medvedev is “Robin to Putin’s Batman” and Putin will try to get back the post he held from 2000 to 2008, according to documents disclosed by WikiLeaks earlier this month. But Medvedev has given muted signals that he’d like to stay in the job.

Andrei Illarionov, a former economic adviser to Putin, told the Guardian outside the court that the liberal camp was unlikely to prevail.

“This prosecution is the result of a coup,” he said. “In 2003, the siloviki became afraid that Khodorkovsky and the political forces surrounding him were becoming too powerful, so they decided to arrest him. These people are still dominant in the country and for them it would be a defeat if Khodorkovsky was released.”

Vladimir Ryzhkov, a former MP and opposition politician who was also outside the court, said: “There has been open pressure on the judge from Putin who consistently expresses his hatred for Khodorkovsky and says publicly that he is guilty of theft.”

Ryzhkov added: “I believe they want to keep him in prison for another three or four years at least, so he is not released until well after the next presidential elections, in 2012.” He dismissed suggestions that Medvedev might ensure a softer sentence. “There is never any action behind Medvedev’s rhetoric,” he said.

One protester among the crowd opposite the court was Vladimir Yurovsky, 54, the manager of a small Moscow financial services company.

“I’ve seen the indictments and they are absurd,” he said, adding. “I once worked for a company that competed with Khodorkovsky’s business and he took away our clients. But it was done in a gentlemanly way that only demanded respect.”

The decision comes as leaked US embassy cables reveal that US diplomats believe attempts by the Russian government to demonstrate due process in the trial are “lipstick on a political pig” .

Despite the protests, many Russians are indifferent to Khodorkovsy’s fate, believing that oligarchs who grew rich in the turbulent 1990s should also be prosecuted.

“Given such significant international implications to the case, and given Khodorkovsky’s former stature, one might expect a large amount of focus on the Yukos case inside Russia,” noted a US diplomat in Moscow last year, according to the WikiLeaks documents . “However, most Russians continue to pay scant attention.”

The trial resumes tomorrow.

Profile

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was one of the most successful of the first wave of Russian oligarchs, politically connected businessmen who made good in the chaotic decade after the Soviet collapse in 1991. Born in Moscow in 1963, he was active as a student in the Communist youth movement, using his ties to devise a scheme to turn government subsidies into hard cash. He also sold imported computers.

In 1988, he set up Menatep, a commercial bank he later used to acquire control of the Yukos oil company. Yukos developed rapidly after major investment and Khodorkovsky turned it into a western-style quoted company. But he fell out of favour with Vladimir Putin, then president, when he began complaining about corruption, promoting private oil pipelines and funding opposition politicians. He was arrested in 2003 and later sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky Vladimir Putin Russia Tom Parfitt

 

Posted in Economic Upheavals | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,463 other followers