(THE PRESIDENTíS ADMINISTRATION)
The RF presidentís administration possesses huge informal powers although its legal status is not written in any laws. This is how the director of the Institute of problems linked with liberal development Yuly Nisnevich defined the role of the presidentís administration in an interview to Kommersant: ďHis administration is mentioned only in the Constitution and is not defined by other laws. Politically it is the staff of the ruling regime, which uses the power resource of other official bodies of power in its interests.Ē But in essence the Administration is not even second after Fradkovís government but the first and the main government. The media name 43 people among the leaders of the Administration. The Administration is situated in large buildings on Ilyinka Street and on the Old Square. The total number of the Administrationís employees is obviously several thousand people.
From the 43 leaders of the Administration, the highest in the hierarchy is Dmitry Medvedev. This chapter was already written when rearrangements have followed. Medvedev was just transferred to the post of the governmentís deputy prime minister. Former governor of the Tyumen region Sergey Sobyanin was appointed head of Administration. Still this rearrangement did not modify the essence of the Administration. He is 40 years old; he is the son of a Leningradís professor. He graduated from the juridical faculty of the Leningradís State University in 1987, and then he finished his post-graduate studies in the faculty. But his main quality is that he is Putinís long time friend. In his biography in the Kommersant-Power newspaper it is said: ďFrom 1990 he becomes the assistant of Lensovetís chairman Anatoly Sobchak (he postulated for the post on an invitation of Sobchakís advisor Vladimir Putin)Ē. He owns his further successes and the growth of his career to Putinís advancement into power. Together with him he moves to Moscow. From August 31st 1999 he becomes deputy head of the presidentís Administration Alexander Voloshin. It is interesting to note that in the year of Putinís appointment on the post of FSB director in 1998, Putin and his group start to lay their hands on the financial power as well. In 1998 Medvedev is elected only as member of the Directorsí Board of the ďFraternal timber industrial complexĒ joint-stock company. We can only guess at how it was achieved. Maybe they hinted on the FSB powers (unlimited) and proposed the timber industrials to move aside. Actually in 1998 Vladimir Vladimirovich was certainly already an artist in the sphere of property theft. They asked the timber industrials to move aside. Unlimited opportunities opened up before Putinís group after he became president. He became president on March 26th and on June 3rd 2000 Medvedev, Putinís faithful companion, became first deputy of the Administrationís head (Yeltsin left Voloshin to Putin; it was impossible yet to remove him) and on June 30th Putinís group is already taking over, not some fraternal timber industrials, oh no, Medvedev becomes chairman of Gazpromís Board of Directors. Naturally, conserving his post of head of administration. If we remember that Alexey Miller (from 1991 he was member of the Committee of Saint Petersburgís city hallís external relations) becomes Gazpromís general director almost at the same time, then these two appointments are called ďGazpromís takeoverĒ by Putinís group.
It would be simpler to start the biographies of the ďleadersĒ of the presidentís Administration from the year when each of them met Putin. Igor Ivanovich Sechin is believed to be a very powerful man in the Administration. He is 45 years old. He graduated from the philological faculty of Leningradís State University specialized as ďphilologist-novelist, teacher of French and PortugalĒ. He worked as a translator in Mozambique and Angola. ďAccording to the media, he worked for the KGB in Africa,Ē Kommersant-Power affirms for example. In Sobchakís city hall ďhe was responsible for contacts with Leningradís cities-friends: Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and Milan.Ē He met Putin during a trip of Lensovetís delegation to Brazil in 1990. From this time he accompanies him in all of his trips. When Putin, for example, became FSB director, Sechin was his adviser. On December 31st 1999 he was appointed deputy head of the presidentís Administration. From July 27th 2004 he heads Rosneftís board of directors. In other words, as we see, the presidentís administration is slowly but inevitably laying its hands on the property of huge companies. As deputy head of the administration Sechin is responsible for: the Department of external policy, the Department of informational and documental provision and the presidnetís Office. A layperson is not able to understand, for instance, the difference between the Office and the Department of informational and, for that matter, documental provision. But believe my word, Igor Sechin is almost the most powerful man in our country after Putin. They say that he grants access to Putin. Recently Sergey Dorenko published an anti-utopia, a book called ď2008Ē; Igor Sechin is portrayed there as diabolically sly and cynical. Externally this is a man with an oval, flabby face without a clearly defined shin.
Rumor has it that Igor Sechin is in a harsh competition with another administrationís deputy head, Vladislav Yurievich Surkov. One department is directly under his orders. But this is the Department of internal policy; therefore Vladislav Yurievich is an extremely important person in the country. He dictates the internal policy: with his hands he created fake non-existing parties, broke apart existing ones, destroyed the political freedoms in the country and politics as such. If Putinís group was honest in its unscrupulousness Vladislav Yurievich could have proudly renamed his direction into ďZubatovís ministry of intrigues and falsificationĒ. We will linger on V.Y.ís activities more in detail later but now shortly about his biography. He was born in 1961 in the village of Solntzevo of the Lipetsk region. The joy of patriots-nationalists is premature here because despite his rural, supposedly Russian coordinates Vladislav Yurievichís father is a pureblooded Chechen, which is instantly apparent when we look at Surkov. Surkovís father is Aslambek Dudayev. He was born in the village of Duba-Yurt, where his mother, a 23-years-old graduate of Tambovís pedagogical institute, arrived to work as a teacher in 1959. She liked her colleague, the teacher Andarbek Dudayev. Vladimir Surkov came to the world in Shalinsky hospital (how was he registered as born in Solntzevo?), until 1967 he lived with his parents in Duba-Yurta and in 1967 the family moved to Grozny, to the oil industry workersí district, Berezka, Pugachev Street.
All this information can be obtained in the Zhizn newspaper dated as of 07.13.05. I am not at all disturbed by the fact that Surkov is a Chechen, I am even glad. Because it explains some of his actions by a split personality. Naturally it is surprising that during the second Chechen war politics in Russia were formulated in significant part by a man with a spilt consciousness. How does he live, the poor, since there are rivers of blood between the Surkovs and the Dudayevs? Well, actually, the famous general Ermolov, the conqueror of the Caucasus hated by the Chechens, was married to a Chechen and his four sons later served in the Russian armyÖ
Vladislav Yurievich Surkov is the figure closest to the NBP; he chose to be our opponent; the organization Nashi was his project; there is a chapter dedicated to it in this book, so I will talk about Surkov more in detail. This is how he is characterized in the reference book ďThe Presidentís AdministrationĒ (published by the Center of Political Information Nevsky-Lubyanka-Kremlin): ďFormer representative of the ďFamilyĒ, joined a strategic alliance with ďPiterís groupĒ, oriented on V. Putin and Alpha-groups; assists the president in issues of internal policy; manages public organizations, regions and media; administers the funds of the presidentís administration, signs civil contracts.Ē In other words Surkov is our ďmanagerĒ, in the language of the special services he is an officer who watches us, keeps us under his control, represses us. At the same time Surkov is the chairman of the board of directors of Transneft-Product; the cost of the company is 428 million dollars; its sphere of activity is: the transportation of oil products, the construction of pipelines.
Since Surkov is the former representative of the Family, although he was entrusted with internal policy, he got the poorest company. The wealthiest one is Gazprom and it went to Putinís faithful veterans: Dmitry Medvedev and Alexey Miller. Gazprom has just bought Sibneft to Roman Abramovich; together their assets are evaluated at 43,1 billion dollars. The presidentís next best friend, his veteran Igor Ivanovich Sechin serves, I already told, as chairman of Rosneftís board of directors. This company extracts, processes and sells oil. Its capital is more modest: 5,3 billion dollars. Another administrationís employee close to Putin is Viktor Petrovich Ivanov, born in 1950; in 1977 he graduated from KGBís higher courses. He went in reserve in 1994. In 1994-96 he headed the Department of administrative bodies of Saint Petersburgís city hall.
He left the city hall with Putin and when the latter became FSB director Viktor Ivanov became head of the FSB department of personal security. Such a post is not entrusted to anybody, only to the salt of the Earth. From January 2000 he is deputy director of the administration. By Ivanovís initiative in 2002 the presidentís amnesty commission was liquidated. As the presidentís adviser Viktor Ivanov manages simultaneously two departments: the department of State service issues and the Department of staff issues and State honors. From 2002 Viktor Ivanov becomes chairman of the board of directors of Aeroflot and Almaz-Antey, costing 3,3, billion dollars. The sphere of activity of his companies: air transportation, production of anti-aircraft means. Putin has met Ivanov even before his service in the city hall, they both served in Leningradís FSB department. Strange things happen around Ivanov, like around any functionary of the administration. This book is not about Viktor Ivanov but in order for the reader to have a sense of the climate around these people, here is only one story. ďOn June 6th 2003 Igor Klimov, general director of the Almaz-Antey concern, supposedly a man from the service of foreign intelligence, former Ivanovís assistant representing his interests in the Almaz-Altey concern, was shot in Moscow. Not long before the murder the Prosecutor General started an investigation about the theft of a huge amount of money (about $ten million) on the account of providing TOP-M1 missile complexes to Greece. They said that Klimov possessed information on this case and a few months earlier the concernís financier Sergey Vorobiev disappeared with the money,Ē Izvestia wrote on 06.06.03.
On March 25th 2004 Viktor Ivanov became less powerful in the administration, since from deputy head of the administration he was appointed presidentís assistant. According to some V. Ivanov started to head a serious opposition (inside the PA) to Voloshin-Surkov group and although later Voloshin left the PA himself, Surkovís group prevailed.
Igor Ivanovich Shuvalov is considered to be very promising in the administration; he keeps increasing his power. Here is how the Center of Political Information Nevsky-Lubyanka-Kremlin characterizes him: ďFormer Kasyanovís friend; oriented on V. Putin, provides the president on issues of ďall-national projectsĒ, manages the execution of the messages of the federal Councilís president, the Expert department and the commissions on issues of federative relations and local self-government.Ē Shuvalov was born in 1967. In 1992 he graduated from the juridical faculty of Moscowís State University specialized as jurist. Shuvalov has the perfect career of a bureaucrat and a financier, but we do not need its stages. He is a professional, so to speak, ďmember of the board of directorsĒ. In 1999, for example, he was part of Gazpromís and in the Russian Development Bankís board of directors. Now he is doing a quite ungrateful work on his post Ė he ďdoubles the GDPĒ and is responsible for social transformations. They affirm that now Shuvalov ďhas grown outĒ of his old contacts and apparently has joined the new ďPiterĒ team. ďSources note, The Presidentís Samurais (Moscow, 2005, A. Mukhin) writes, in particular Shuvalovís successes in fixing the work of the governmentís apparatus. For example they say that he led a successful re-attestation among the employees, which resulted in the majority of the pensioners losing their job. Also Shuvalov managed to fix the system of document circulation, which did not work well before him. In particular each Monday he holds consultations about legislative activities, which contributed to the normalization of the system of documentsí passing.Ē Igor Ivanovich Shuvalovís heroic deeds on the front of document circulation are naturally impressive, but more impressive is the financial size of the companies, which Shuvalov controls as member of the board of directors. This is Sovkomflot (sea transportation, including transportation of liquefied natural gas and oil products) and Russian Railways (freight and passenger railway transportation). The total weight of these companies is 31,4 billion dollars.
The presidentís assistant Sergey Edwardovich Prikhodko was born in 1957; in 1980 he graduated from Moscowís State University of International Relations. Until 1997 he made a good career in the Ministry of Interior. Now he is the presidentís adviser on issues of external policy and international relations. Besides he is chairman of the board of directors of the TVEL Corporation; the corporation produces nuclear fuel for the reactors of nuclear plants. TVELís value is estimated at 1,1 billion dollars. I cannot say for sure what is the estimated value of the Tactical Rocket Weapons Corporation, whose board of directors is also presided by this man with multiple chins; I did not find it in reference books or in the media.
I have named here only six of the 43 most famous leaders of the presidentís administration. But the thirty-seven that are left are not fools either. The presidentís administrators are politically powerful people Ė they manipulate the federation Council, the State Duma, the State Duma elections and the appointment to the Federation Council (Sochin and Surkov); they appoint and (more rarely) dismiss ministers. They are like the overseers of the government and therefore there are above it. At the same time the leaders of the presidentís administration are in essence new oligarchs. Therefore the nazbols are a thousand times right when they go out on meetings with the slogan ďThe oligarchs are in the Kremlin!Ē They are in the Kremlin and on Old Square. Thus, the presidentís administration is a concentration of political and financial power in the country. Even those six that I mentioned: D. Medvedev, I. Sechin, V. Surkov, V. Ivanov, I. Shuvalov and S. Prikhodko control directly or indirectly a major part of the main financial flows in the country; these flows are comparable with half of Russiaís annual budget. You should realize that the post of chairman of the board of directors (or member of the board) of the largest State Company is not ceremonial; this is a real financial power; in many cases it is a monopolistic power.
In contrary to Yeltsinís times of banal embezzlement, Putin, by putting trusted people on key businesses, has made the power to become a business. It privatized key branches of the economy for itself: oil, gas, transport, and nuclear energy. In other words basic branches that bring the main profits into the budget. The new oligarchs, leaders of the presidentís administration, have a consolidated budget and one boss Ė the president (since the assignment of posts is in his power).
The new oligarchs are fantastically rich. ďThe gross profit of the companies controlled by the Administration in 2003 was about 45 billion dollars. In 2004 it was 89,828 billion dollars,Ē Novaya Gazeta writes in issue 8 for 2005. In 2005 Gazprom acquired Sibneft, which by the end of the year will give a minimal increase of the total profit of 8,9 billion dollars. Obviously Rosneft, which obtained Yuganskneftegaz, will also improve its indicators. If to this wealth we add the fact that it is the presidentís administration that establishes the tariffs on the production of the natural resources sector, then they have unlimited possibilities for enrichment. The RF government becomes an increasingly technical body that serves the Administration.
After it took over the financial power, the presidentís Administration did not reject the political power. Moreover, it is not only the president who formulates the Stateís policy but the gentlemen from the presidentís Administration. On September 29th 2004 Komsomolskaya Pravda published an interview with the deputy head of the presidentís Administration Vladislav Surkov, entitled ďPutin strengthens the State and not himselfĒ, which is the Kremlinís program document. In essence it is not an interview; it is known that this text was proposed by the presidentís Administration first in other national newspapers, however one or two publications demanded to add at least a couple live questions to the text and were answered a firm ďnoĒ. So they put the text in Komsomolskaya Pravda, which, apparently, does not ask questions to the presidentís Administration.
In the text ďPutin strengthensÖĒ Surkov is mostly justifying himself. For Beslan: ďQuestion: Ė In the days of Beslanís tragedy again we heard calls to negotiate with the terroristsÖ The answer: Ė Yes, like someone gave a signal to themÖ Maybe I missed something but all these years I never had the chance to hear clear proposals to regulate the crisis. Everything the power does is declared wrong. But what is right? Negotiations? Go ahead! About what? With whom? What are the negotiation positions? What has to be the result? I donít hear you!Ē
This is a lie, naturally. As we already know clear demands were made: stop the war and withdraw the troops. The result had to be the saving of all the hostages and if it appeared impossible the result could have been insignificant losses among the hostages. But never 331 killed and 580 wounded by the RF army children and women.
Surkov is justifying himself about the appointment of governors: ďQuestion: Ė Could you explain how the new order of electing governors and deputies of the State Duma can help in the fight against terrorism? The answer: Ė The principal task of the interventionists is the destruction of the Russian Statehood. In the face of such a threat the president was simply obliged to realize the constitutional principle of unity of the executive power. The unity of power is the necessary condition of the nationís unity. Of course, the elections of the regionsí leaders by legislative assemblies by the presidentís presentation will not guarantee a victory over the enemy by themselves. But they will significantly increase the resistance reserve of our political system, adapt the State mechanism to the extreme conditions of an undeclared war,Ē Ė and so forth. And this is a lie too. Acts of terrorism on the RF territory are made by Chechen fighters-wreckers. Their goal is to stop the war, to get the withdrawal of Russian troops. Naturally, with his policy of repressing Islam in the Caucasus the president has outraged other Caucasusí regions, but the war in Chechnya, going on for eleven years now (!) is the only reason of the acts of terrorism in Russian cities.
Another justification: Question: Ė And still there is an opinion that Putin used Beslanís events to strengthen his personal power and to cut back on democracy. In what measure are the fears expressed by some Russian and foreign politicians on this issue are founded? Answer: Ė The Western politicians have to know that Russia is the only federation in the world whose subjects can have the status of national republics. I think the people in Washington would understand us better if, for instance, the African-American republic or the Spanish-Jewish Autonomous region were part of the USA. Our country is unique and demands a corresponding system of government.Ē
Here again there is a justification and a lie. Nobody forces the Russian Federation to have national autonomous republics or regions. Tomorrow we can rename then into districts. And multinationalism is common to the USA, to India and to the majority of the countries on the planet. Surkovís task is to justify the absolutism and the brutality of Putinís group.
This is the reason of all these complaints: our country is unique therefore we will act like the murderers of our own citizens whenever we want. Further in this interview Surkov explains and justifies the creation of the Public Chamber, this double of the State Duma, makes justifications directed at the ears of the opponents and the doubtful: ďSkeptics affirm that the parliament has to fulfill all these functions. Yes, it has and it does. Only on its manner. Parliamentarism's birth trauma is to look back on the elections, past and future. Parliamentary discussions are always and everywhere more or less tainted with populism. And with our rather low level of political culture they often turn into a farce. The experts of the Public Chamber will depend far less from the political conjunctureÖĒ Here in Surkovís words there is apparently also a disappointment in the State Duma deputies of 2003. They spend a long time sorting them out, but they still did not satisfy the expectations of the Administration. They vote obediently but apparently Surkov does not like them either esthetically or because they plan to be reelected for the next term and are not only squinting at the Kremlin but at the elector as well, which is naturally an unforgivable freethinking.
In conclusion Surkov shows the internal enemy: ďQuestion: Ė Arenít you afraid that the skeptics from the public and political activists you mentioned will refuse to cooperate with the power in the frames of the Public Chamber and beyond it? Answer: Ė The refusal to participate in a joint work is also a position. /Ö/ Although, of course, there are people who are lost forever for partnership. Practically a fifth column of left wing and right wing radicals has appeared in the besieged country. Lemons and apples are now growing on the same branch. The fake liberals and the real Nazis have more and more in common. Common sponsors from abroad. Common hate. As they say, hate to Putinís Russia. But in reality it is hate to Russia as such. Dostoevsky was writing about such people. And today all these Smerdyakovs and Lyamshins are having a good time in all sorts of committees waiting the eighth year when they preach the need to defeat their own country in the war with terrorism. God be their judge. We will do without them.