Russia » Politics
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Russian Government Changes Sympathies About Oligarchs

Yukos's CEO has substituted Oleg Deripaska, well-known Russian oligarch

According to recent messages distributed by Russian mass media outlets, the Russian Office of the Prosecutor General resumed the criminal case against the major insurance company Ingosstrakh. Former owner of the company's shareholding (in addition to the stocks of other companies like Avtobank, NOSTA), Andrey Andreyev, complained of some natural persons, who had taken the business away from him. At first sight it might seem that it is a common economic dispute. However, one should mention here that Mr. Andreyev's business was handed over to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who controls such companies as Basic Element, Russian Aluminium, Ruspromavto. In addition to it, Deripaska became famous for his unsuccessful attempt to takeover the pulp and paper enterprise Ilim Pulp Enterprise. The most interesting aspect about the issue is the fact of law-enforcement bodies' interest in the investigated and closed criminal file. Against the background of tense relations between the government and oligarchs, one shall assume that this fact has a certain significance.

The criminal case connected with the insurance company Ingosstrakh and Avtobank's stocks caused a commotion several years ago. It was a usual transaction, when a larger businessman took over the property of a smaller one. Furthermore, a smaller businessman wanted to sell that property to someone wealthier. However, things work different in Russia: larger businessmen are not used to buying the property, they are used to taking it away without any payment at all. That is why, there is nothing surprising about the fact that former owner of Ingostrakh's shareholding, Andrey Andreyev, was trying to appeal against the transaction that he had concluded. Andreyev was allegedly forced to sell his business.

The Interior Ministry investigation department looked into the matter of Ingosstrakh on the first application from Mr. Andreyev, and did not find anything criminal in the case. However, the Office of the Prosecutor General unexpectedly nullified the previous investigation and decided to resume it - the department for the investigation of special cases will be in charge of it.

The press service of the Office of the Prosecutor General said, "the decision to resume the investigation of the so-called Andreyev's case was made in connection of the previous biased process, when the prosecutor's instructions were not fulfilled, contradictions in testimonies were not removed, several expertises were not completed."

The newspaper Gazeta wrote, investigator of the Russian Interior Ministry, Major Viktor Tsymbal (he was in charge of the previous case) stopped investigating the matter under strange circumstances. Furthermore, Viktor Tsymbal is currently hospitalized at a mental hospital. It is worth mentioning here, the aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska has not managed to obtain Andrey Andreyev's entire property. The former property of the "robbed" businessman has other owners. Avtobank, for example, controls the investment and banking group NIKoil, the insurance company Russia – its management. The resumption of the criminal case will touch upon not only Deripaska - a lot of people will come into the picture. This reminds the "massive cleansing" process, PRAVDA.Ru has repeatedly reported about it.

The justice strike is aimed at Oleg Deripaska now - the person who has recently been very close to power, and used the opportunity for his own interests. Taking account of the Russian insurance market perspective into consideration, it is obvious that the government is interested in something absolutely different. Oleg Deripaska is a well-known Russian oligarch, an influential figure in the government. Obviously, state officials want to have an opportunity to grip him by the throat or even to have him on his knees - they want to control and manipulate Oleg Deripaska. This is a very important factor for the Russian government on the threshold of the coming elections. Otherwise, it is not ruled out that the government could be controlled and manipulated by someone else.

Oleg Deripaska is one of the youngest Russian oligarchs. He missed his chance to participate in the privatization and pledge auctions. He started his career with Chyorny brothers at TWG, but when Roman Abramovich (the treasurer of Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin) penetrated into the aluminium business, Deripaska took his side and became an oligarch himself. A lot of things can be ascribed to Oleg Deripaska, but there is no place for illicit privatization on the list, though. It seems that the matter is about something different.

Most of all, Deripaska is known for his opposition to Anatoly Bykov, director of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminium Factory. Bykov was jailed as a result, and Deripaska chaired his factory instead. The Office of the Prosecutor General took his side that time. Then the government changed its sympathies and Alexander Khloponin became the Krasnoyarsk regional governor - Vladimir Putin virtually appointed him for that position because of the election scandal. To all appearance, governmental officials do not want to deal with Deripaska anymore. One has to acknowledge, there were certain reasons for it.

Oleg Deripaska has not been anywhere in the public lately. Just a year ago, he positioned himself as a capitalist with the incredible political ambition. Moreover, he had his own point of view regarding Russia's objectives and the future development. Few people remember it now that Mikhail Khodorkovsky, head of the currently-pursued oil giant Yukos started with criticizing Oleg Deripaska.

Last summer, Deripaska harshly criticized Russian Minister for Economic Development and Trade, German Gref because of his aspiration to make Russia a WTO member. Deripaska exercised himself as a conservative isolationist, an adversary of Russia's participation in the foreign business, especially in the field of insurance. That was the time when the investigation of Ingosstrakh's case was in full swing. Mikhail Khodorkovsky acted Deripaska's antagonist - Yukos's CEO stood for Russia's complete integration in the global economy.

Oleg Deripaska has not been noticed in public activities since that time. On the other hand, Mikhail Khodorkovsky's political and public PR has been continuing until Platon Lebedev's arrest, one of Yukos's co-owners.  Furthermore, Oleg Deripaska was manipulating the government before the scandal with the WTO membership occurred (he was even promised to take office of the prime minister after Mikhail Kasyanov's resignation), but then it was Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who became the secret advisor for the government, having substituted Oleg Deripaska. The government liked Khodorkovsky's position about the energetic cooperation with the USA and investments in the Russian fuel complex. However, as it turned out, the sympathy did not last long. Vladimir Putin stated, the oil tycoon's activity jeopardized the national economic security. The statement was made during the period, when they were lobbying the idea of an oil pipeline construction to China and the privatization of the national pipeline system.

At present, the two oligarchs, as well as the rest of the Russian business elite have been outlawed by the government. Ambitious prosecutors are working. They want to make good careers with the help of oligarchs. In addition to it, they might have their own personal problems with wealthy and rich Russian citizens. As experience shows, if such a process is gathering steam, no one can stop it, as a rule.

On the photo: Oleg Deripaska

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