08/24/2012, 00.00
RUSSIA
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Experts: a new Politburo to lead Russia

by Nina Achmatova
According to the report of a leading Russian think tank, the 'tandem' structure no longer exists. In its place, a group of eight people representing different interests and the balance of which is the guarantor of President Putin.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The system of power that governs Russia today is a "conglomerate of groups and clans that compete for the resources of the country"; it resembles a sort of a "Politburo", consisting of about eight people governed by the president, Vladimir Putin. This is the conclusion of the report by the authoritative think tank Minchenko Consulting Group. Released on 21 August, the document states the "tandem" Putin-Medvedev mechanism that characterized the last eight years of the country's political life is "buried", and reveals the exit strategy of power in the event of a serious political crisis.

Lead by political scientist Yevgeny Minchenko, the Minchenko Consulting Group says the group of power around Putin is no longer the "vertical" theorized at the time around the same Russian president, but rather a modern Politburo, modeled on the old top body of the Soviet Communist Party, in which the head of the Kremlin mediates between clans, often in conflict with each other. According to the report, eight are part of the Politburo from political figures to the world of business: Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, the CEO of the oil giant Rosneft, Igor Sechin, Sergei Chemezov, general manager of the holding company Russian Technologies, the presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov and his deputy Vyacheslav Volodin, the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobianin, Gennady Timchenko, head of the powerful oil-trading company Gunvor and the media tycoon Yury Kovalchuk, also known as the Rupert Murdoch of Russia.

Below them, a larger group of about 45 "candidates" to become members of the Politburo, perceived as loyal to the Kremlin and divided into the areas of "business" and "security forces". Among these, potential "leaders" have already been identified, in the event that a serious political crisis should lead to Putin's removal from the Kremlin. These include the liberal former finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, nationalist Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, and former presidential candidate the oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov.

"Putin is the keeper of the lighthouse, but it would be strange to call him a light," Alexei Mukhin, director of the Center for political information told the Moscow Times newspaper.

Despite the differences between the members of the various clans, most of them - the report reveals - believes that the protests will not affect political and economic stability in Russia. The movement of "white ribbons" - born in December last year in protest against electoral fraud - has promised to fight corruption and illegal practices that characterize the country's elite. The next protest on the program, after the "summer -break" is scheduled for September 15 in Moscow and other cities around Russia.

 

 

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