The Purge of the Kremlin Chairmen

In recent months, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has moved against some of the most powerful men in the Kremlin: the ministers and deputy ministers who chair Russia's state-owned companies. But the purge may reflect other goals than improving the investment climate.

MOSCOW – In recent days, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has moved against some of the most powerful men in the Kremlin, including Igor Sechin, a deputy prime minister who is perhaps the closest figure to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – and who is also the chairman of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil firm. A decree signed by Medvedev with the stated purpose of improving the country’s investment climate will strip Sechin and others of their chairmanships of some of Russia’s biggest state-owned companies. But the purge may reflect other, more important goals.

Medvedev has in the past recognized both the need to attract Russian and foreign investment and the country’s dismal investment climate. But this time his actions truly matched his rhetoric, as he outlined specific measures to be taken and set deadlines for implementing them. And, with some of the measures bound to face stiff opposition by powerful interest groups, the reforms are set to be a major test of Medvedev’s real strength – and of his plans to run for another term as president. Even partial success would allow a Medvedev re-election campaign to be built around themes of anti-corruption and transparency.

Corruption and government accountability are probably the single most important issues for Medvedev’s electoral base among Russia’s rising middle class and “protest” voters. The ruling United Russia party’s recent poor performance in regional elections show that the electorate is fed up with the status quo and is ready to vote for an alternative.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/OmLfe0y;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.