Archive for March, 2009


Boris Berezovsky: rise and fall of a first generation oligarch

Have a look at the video below. The report was aired on Kremlin controled TV channel Russia Today (a Russian CNN wannabe!!!) and it is clear that the report gives a very pro-Kremlin image of the Berezovsky case.

However, I tend to believe that in many ways, it gives a much more complete view of the situation than the reports we usually see on BAB (Boris Abramovich Berezovsky, his Russian nickname) and it gives a bit of a balance on what first generation oligarchs were really about: they were not much concerned about democracy as they now pretend, but benefitted outrageously from Russian privatization wave.


Doves vs hawks: a Kremlin story

moscow-kremlin-5Doves vs hawks is an all-time political story but it has a special flavour when the struggle takes place within the secretive walls of the Kremlin.

During the Soviet era, the struggle was tough and often deadly between “doves” willing to loosen up the socialist system as well as the relations with the Western world, and “hawks” who wanted to dramatize the cold war confrontation and keep Russsia under the very soviet rule.

No ideologies in today’s Russia but the basics remain: nationalism vs liberalism; vertical of power vs (a little more of) democracy.

It is also to say that in Russia the Czar is above these matters and parties, using the strength of both camps when necessary. The czar being Vladimir Putin, he has remained neutral since his first election, picking his closest counselors and ministers in both camps.

Èçáðàííûé ïðåçèäåíò ÐÔ Ä. ÌåäâåäåâIt has been said for a while that the “dove” camp most prominent figure was Dmitri Medvedev. Eventhough he shows since his election that there is also a “hawk” in his very heart, Medvedev still represents the most acceptable type of  Russian politicians for Western countries, and his “nomination by Putin to become president as been felt as an humiliation and an insult by the “hawk” camp, which hoped to see at least a more neutral figure at the presidency.

The “hawks'” key figure is Igor Sechin, a long time close and listened counselor of Putin, who currently is vice-Prime Minister.

sechinSechin is an interesting character and one of the most brilliant politicians in Russia. I guess he imagined he was to replace his mentor as president and I am not sure that Putin’s pick will remain without consequences for their relationships.

Sechin is the man who inspired almost all of Putin’s radical choices during this last decade. A pure Russian nationalist, he has used all of his influence to bring Russia back to business through confrontation, notably with the US.

However, his influence has not been great enough for him to be selected as Putin’s nominee for presidency. I don’t think Sechin has said his last word. He is still in business… and for a long time.