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memri
February 9, 2018 No.
7325

Kremlin Critic Latynina: 'The Criteria Of The Kremlin Siloviki And The U.S. Treasury Turn Out To Be The Same'

Kremlin critic and prominent Russian journalist Yulia Latynina wrote an article, titled "The Mountain Begat A Rat," for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, criticizing the "Kremlin list" compiled by the U.S. Treasury Department.[1]

In her article, Latynina noted that the list mentions people, who had no place on it, while omitting people, who merited inclusion. Latynina wrote: "I repeat — the list mentions people from whom the Russian siloviki confiscated or tried to confiscate their business, but it does not mention the Kremlin chef, the Kremlin masseur [Russian President Vladimir Putin's friend, judo partner and businessman Konstantin Goloshapov], or the Kremlin cellist [Sergey Roldugin]! It does not contain the names of the confidantes whom the Kremlin tasks with destroying and controlling the mass media!"

According to Latynina, the Kremlin siloviki and the U.S. Treasury apply the same criteria. She complains that, in reality, the American officials "don't give a damn" about who survives in Russia and how such survival is achieved. "They have no time to distinguish between the siloviki, fat wallets, chefs, masseurs, and their victims. This entire story is the product of a purely internal political fight: the American establishment is trying to destroy President Trump, and for that purpose blames him for the (invented) collaboration with the Kremlin, which (actually) tried to interfere with the American election," Latynina argued.

Below are excerpts from Latynina's article:[2]


Yulia Latynina (Source: Snob.ru)

The Kremlin List Has Proven To Be 'A Big Nothing'

"So, the long-awaited 'Kremlin list' of the U.S. Treasury has been published — and has proven to be a big nothing. Either its true meaning is hidden in some secret part, or what we have here is nothing but a dumb bureaucratic document that is a real hodgepodge.

"Let's begin with the first part: 'The list of senior political figures'. The American officials simply copied the available names of current Kremlin officials, without even bothering to ask themselves which of them is close to the president and to what degree, and which of them is in charge of what and to what degree.

"Thus, the list contains the name of the ex-minister [of education] Andrey Fursenko, exiled to a meaningless post [of presidential aide] because he was too liberal for the current Russian climate. Or another example: the former leader of Dagestan, Magomedsalam Magomedov. I would not mind if Mr. Magomedov found his way into this list as a representative of one of the most corrupted Dagestan clans, the son of an ex-president and the ex-president of Dagestan himself. But he is there because, after a defeat in a race for a position in the administration he was demoted to an empty post of an aide.

"Another example: Anna Kuznetsova, commissioner for children's rights, is also on the list. With all my dislike for her, I must say that she did not cause even half the damage in this office that Pavel Astakhov – the commissioner in the period of the Dima Yakovlev law[3] – did.

"Why? I'm telling you – it's just a copied telephone book.

"The same applies to the chief executives of state-owned companies. Igor Sechin (Rosneft) and Aleksey Miller (Gazprom) are on the list, and rightly so. These people are staunch supporters of the regime, and I doubt we would see Mr. Sechin as head of the country's largest oil company if he was not.

"But German Gref (Sberbank) and Vitaliy Savelyev (Aeroflot) are also on the list. This is unjust, to put it mildly. Gref and Savelyev rank among the managers who, despite the dreadful economic and political conditions, are trying to fashion the state-owned enterprises entrusted to them into more or less Western-style companies.

"Why? Again, I'm telling you, it's the phone book approach. It turns out that it does not matter whether you are Gref or Miller, Sechin or Savelyev.

'American Officials Don't Care. They Don't Give A Damn About Who And How Survives In Russia'

"But, of course, the worst is the list of oligarchs. It was formulated using the same formal criterion: 'all those whose net worth exceeds $1 billion'. As a result, one does not know whether to laugh or cry. The list includes Farkhad Akhmetov, former owner of one of the best independent gas-producing Russian companies Nortgas, from whom this company was taken away back in the early 2000s! Another oligarch on the list is Mikhail Gutseriyev, whom the siloviki ripped off and cleaned out. Is Gutseriyev guilty in the eyes of the U.S. Treasury simply because he managed to strike a deal and make a comeback?

"On the list are the former vodka oligarch Yuri Shefler, whom the siloviki tore apart in the early 2000s, and Dmitry Rybolovlev, the former owner of Uralkali, who also had to sell his company when the siloviki hunted him.

"You will laugh, but Dmitry Kamenshchik, the owner of the Domodedovo airport, has also made the list. Yes, that Kamenshchik – the one from whom they have been trying to wrest this airport for the past ten years. Dmitry Kamenshchik has just finished his term under house arrest on an absurd charge of failing to prevent a terror attack in Domodedovo. And now, the man whom they tried to devour in Russia just because he built a good business, independent of the state, is on the list of the U.S. Treasury for the same reason. His only fault is that he became rich.

"The criteria of the Kremlin siloviki and the U.S. Treasury turned out to be the same.

"And let's not even start with the oligarchs of Yeltsin's era! [LUKOIL President Vagit Alekperov, the object of persistent rumors that he will be the next victim of Rosneft after Yevtushenkov. Vladimir Lesin, the head of the Novolipetsk Steel Company, who has never been part to any political projects. Andrey Kozitsyn, head of Uralelektromed, who never even visits Moscow – he does not leave the Urals region. And, of course, Mikhail Fridman [the largest shareholder in Alfa-Group], [his partner in Alfa-Group] Pyotr Aven, and German Khan [he too of Alfa-Group], who are guilty of the same thing: they became rich in the 1990s, and survived in the 2000s.

"But [mining magnate] Dmitry Bosov, for example, who, according to the official line, 'provided financial help to Demyan Kudryavtsev' in the matter of buying the Vedomosti daily, has not made it to the list. I don't know why the U.S. Treasury has decided that Bosov has less than a billion. [Energy mogul] Grigory Beryozkin, the owner of Komsomolskaya Pravda [and RBC], the trusted keeper of the Kremlin propaganda machine, is not on the list either.

"And — now, hold on tight to your chair, don't fall off — the list does not contain the names of either the Orthodox warrior Konstantin Malofeev[4], or the 'Kremlin chef' Yevgeny Prigozhin.[5]

"I repeat — the list mentions people, from whom the Russian siloviki confiscated or tried to confiscate their business, but it does not mention the Kremlin chef, the Kremlin masseur, or the Kremlin cellist! It does not contain the names of the confidantes whom the Kremlin tasks with destroying and controlling the mass media!

"I only have two educated hypotheses as to why. One is that it's some cunning bureaucratic move, and the U.S. Treasury has become concerned that, if a Russian oligarch does not make it into the list, he will be subjected to the dirty looks of his colleagues and candidate number one for a 'takeover'. Unfortunately, I'm afraid it is just wishful thinking.

"The other assumption is that in fact, American officials don't care. They don't give a damn about who and how survives in Russia. They cannot be bothered to distinguish between the siloviki, fat wallets, chefs, masseurs, and their victims.

"All this story is the fruit of a purely internal political fight: the American establishment is trying to destroy President Trump, and for that purpose blames him for the (invented) collaboration with the Kremlin, which (actually) interfered in the American election.

"As part of this internal struggle against Trump, Russia became a collateral damage, and nobody — either in the U.S. Treasury, or the State Department, or in the administration of the Director of National Intelligence — ever even tried to set himself a goal of separating the wheat from the chaff."

 

[2] Novayagazeta.ru, January 30, 2018.

[3] The law passed in 2012 was in retaliation for the Magnitsky act and banned U.S. citizens from adopting children from Russia.

[4] Malofeev has allegedly sponsored the Ukranian separatists and is active in contacts with far right parties in Europe. He calls himself a monarchist.

[5] He acquired this name due to his catering and restaurant business. Is reputed to be behind Russia's troll factory and the generation of fake news.