'Ulyukayev's arrest is a terrible blow to career prospects of Dmitry Medvedev’
Ex-deputy head of the president’s administration of Bashkiria tells about a fortune-telling of the conspiracists on Clinton, a warning for the authorities of Bashkiria and a view of the elites on Tatneft
The arrest of Economic Development Minister of Russia Alexey Ulyukayev can 'hit' several 'targets' at once. In the first place, the homeland of Bashneft will feel a tangible effect. At the same time, Tatarstan's Tatneft can also be at 'the risk zone'. The possible career prospects of Dmitry Medvedev as a potential successor to Vladimir Putin also may suffer. This is an opinion of a political scientist and former deputy head of the presidential administration of Bashkortostan Republic Rostislav Murzagulov. He discussed the main news of the day with the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya.
Two million dollars as an excuse and 'scores' for Putin's team
Mr Murzagulov, what do you think about the criminal case against Alexey Ulyukayev? The social networks are already full of comments that Russia returns back in 1937. Do you agree with this view?
You know, in my opinion, this whole situation is a manifestation of intra-elite, intraspecific struggle. I have worked with ministers pretty much, as well as with oligarchs and other representatives of our elites and I know that they all have long ceased to demand from each other bribes for signatures — now everything works absolutely differently, and it is unlikely that Ulyukayev (a man of experience and working for a long time) was the exception.
Obviously, we are witnessing the situation when Ulyukayev has ceased to be necessary in the government circles and, accordingly, they get rid of him that way. Thus, by the way, they have also attacked those who belonged to the same political clan as he did. This is a manifestation of another tectonic fracture within our elitist history.
Is it possible that these 2 million is just an excuse?
Again, this is a manifestation of some intraspecific struggle, specifically these two million — yes, it is just an excuse. Someone, somewhere, may have found Ulyukayev with two million — we know that it was a bribe. But what was in reality, you never know.
'Obviously, we are witnessing the situation when Ulyukayev has ceased to be necessary in the government circles and, accordingly, they get rid of him that way.' Photo: kremlin.ru
Some experts claim that all this story is a well elaborated move of the president's team in order to 'score points' among Russian citizens…
If it was an absolutely populist story, it certainly would have happened before the election — it could add votes to the ruling party. And then, it is very surprising that this story happened in the context of the distribution of one of the last oil and gas assets. If it happened with Ministry of Health or Ministry of Education, where someone just stole something from the budget and he was caught at it, then yes, probably it would be populism, but here, after all, it is connected with the redistribution of political and economic influence in Russia.
Consequences for Bashkiria and risks for Tatneft
I can't help but ask you one of probably often asked questions today: are there any risks for the transaction?
No, there are definitely no risks. After all, simultaneously with the publication of a release that 'Ulyukayev is bad' they said that dear Rosneft has nothing to do with it, and the transaction has nothing to do with it, there are no claims to it.
Nevertheless, some experts, for example Sergey Aleksashenko, are sure that the process of taking away from Rosneft of Bashneft will begin…
I think that such versions of further development of events are completely untenable. I don't believe that someone will take away something from Rosneft. Actually, I want to say that it is not very good when an owner of the strategic enterprise changes every six months, on whom four million people depend. I hope that a normal operation of the enterprises will begin soon and they will work for the good of the Republic, ceased to be an object of a bargain and the cause of internecine wars.
Mr Murzagulov, how do you think what the information that Ulyukayev has supposedly been in development for a year may indicate? What is more, this information was reported regularly to the president.
Now we can talk about anything and everything. We can even say that he has been in development since 1937. Unfortunately, our force structures are completely closed organizations and we can't check out what developments they had and when. The roots should be sought in the fact that it was immediately declared about the link with Bashneft.
Personally for me, it is obvious that Bashneft is one of the last assets that has not been distributed yet, and now it is a process of distribution. After when the fate of one of those ministers, who had their own position about this distribution, was decided, those wishing to object must have become significantly less.
Before the privatization, Bashneft was definitely a tasty morsel, and one of the elite clans seized this morsel. After we saw some tectonic shifts in the Russian power elites, this piece again became a state one, and then it started to drift to another federal power clan. Perhaps, the final transfer to this new clan will be made very soon. Definitively, absolutely and at 100%.
'Personally for me, it is obvious that Bashneft is one of the last assets that had not been distributed yet, and now so it is a process of distribution.' Photo: newsader.com
Are there any risk for Tatneft?
As Bashkiria was one of the last regions owning such assets, then, Tatarstan is the last region that has similar assets. Of course, the federal elites will aim at this region and at these assets sooner or later. Another thing is that the Republic's leadership has already begun some sort of preventive counter attack — there are already talks that that Tatarstan will defend its sovereignty. We will see whether Tatarstan will be able to defend its sovereignty or, on the contrary, it will be finally buried, and Tatarstan assets will also start to go to new hands. It will be an interesting subject for scientific discussion.
How will the incident with Ulyukayev affect Bashkortostan?
The effect will be tangible because it will be clear there is no need to argue over Bashneft with someone. Even in the scales that Ulyukayev allowed himself.
'This is a serious hit made to the possible career prospects of Dmitry Medvedev'
The Investigative Committee states about the absence of claims to Sechin, however, can we assume that this situation is a kind of sign to the head of Rosneft, who has strengthened his influence?
Obviously, this indicates that all the talks about a strong decline in the influence of Sechin are in the past.
In general, it is due to the fact that some groups defeat some other groups. Of course, Sechin is one of their prominent representatives, but, at the same time, many individuals participating in this solitaire are unknown at all.
'Some groups defeat some other groups. Of course, Sechin is one of their prominent representatives, but, at the same time, many individuals participating in this solitaire are generally unknown.' Photo: dic.academic.ru
In your opinion, why did the information about the arrest came late at night? Is it connected with a struggle in the power structures?
You can always tell about a struggle of the security forces and that someone very busy and very important could not approve the news. I think that this someone 'very busy and very important' in principle was one in the country that could approve the publication of one news. Well, accordingly, as soon as he gave a go-ahead, it was published. A working day of this 'very busy and very important' man ends, as we all know, very late. Yesterday it ended at 2 a.m.
Since we are again talking about the president, I want to ask you, does the arrest of Ulyukayev indicate that Medvedev ceases to be the obvious successor of Putin?
Of course, in Russia, the economy and politics are tied very closely. And, of course, this is a serious hit made to the possible career prospects of Dmitry Medvedev.
Also, it was said that hard times have started for the liberals after the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the election in the United States...
You know, with the same success it would be possible to consider the relationship of this event with the stars, with a black cat that crossed the road in the morning. I think that these events are not connected with the elections in the States in any way. This is an amusing conspiracy theory.