THE SUCCESSOR IS EMERGING FROM THE MISTS

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Political analysts sound the alarm about an "oligarchic junta"

Three leading political analysts – Sergei Markov, Maxim Dianov, and Valery Khomiakov – have exposed yet another “oligarchic conspiracy against the state” and set out one possible scenario for a “smooth transition of power” into the hands of Russia’s third president.


On September 6, three leading political analysts exposed yet another “oligarchic conspiracy against the state” and set out one possible scenario for a “smooth transition of power” into the hands of Russia’s third president.

The “Oligarchs and Government in Russia” discussion took place at the Izvestia Media Center, and no specific names were mentioned for Putin’s potential successor. Before the meeting began, however, Political Studies Institute director Sergei Markov described the current situation regarding the search for a person acceptable to the Kremlin.

“Putin leads a coalition of three ‘parties’: the chekist corporation, the liberal economists, the lawyers, the political advisers, and the ideology-free bureaucracy. Thus, the main requirement for a successor is that he should combine the interests of all these forces,” says Markov. “As yet, two questions remain unanswered: the successor’s identity and Putin’s role after he steps down as president.”

All three analysts agreed that the main obstacle to implementing this scenario is the threat of “an oligarchic junta” coming to power.

Maxim Dianov, director of the Regional Politics Institute, says the tycoons haven’t accepted the Kremlin’s unwritten ban on their political activities, and they’re organizing a campaign in the Western media to discredit Putin. Therefore, the oligarchs are either “prepared to take part in Operation Successor,” or “no longer afraid of the Kremlin.”

The latter option is supported by Valery Khomiakov, director of the National Strategy Council, who says that one of Russia’s largest financial-industrial groups has not only tried to “set up” Putin by publishing a Western analyst’s report arguing in favor of a third term, but is actually funding the Our Own (Nashi) youth movement, “where two-thirds of the members will do whatever they are told in return for money.”

Markov added fuel to the fire by warning of an incipient alliance between the oligarchs and part of the security and law enforcement people (siloviki): “Some of them are willing to become puppets.”

In early summer, these same three analysts levied similar accusations at former prime minister Mikhail Kasianov. This was soon followed by a criminal investigation into Kasianov’s acquisition of a dacha property. Thus, it can’t be ruled out that the Prosecutor General’s Office may soon “dig up” something against the leaders of the financial-industrial group in question; fortunately, one of those leaders owns a dacha right next to Kasianov’s.

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