Russia » Politics
Author`s name Michael Simpson

Are Oligarchs Scheming a Coup?

Businessmen are seeking the leading governmental posts
Publication of a scientific work under the title "An Oligarch Coup Schemed in Russia" written by influential political scientists may give rise to a serious scandal. The National Strategy Council consisting of 23 famous political scientists represented the work to the mass media.

The matter of the fact is that before official presentation, members of the Council could read only a draft of the report where majority of the wording was toned down. Thus, absolute majority of the Council members were misinformed about the actual contents of the report they signed. Leonid Smirnyagin, the Assistant Professor of the Moscow State University Geography Department, a consultant from the City Economy Institute foundation is at a loss. He says: "The publication caught us unaware. As for me, I have a copy of a slightly different report, a softer one. I am afraid that was one of the rejected variants."
Director General of the National Strategy Council Stanislav Belkovsky and Council Chairman Joseph Diskin represented the document at the press-conference. They told journalists about the details of the report with the scandalous heading. In their words, an oligarch coup may occur in Russia, as representatives of large-scale business are seeking to take leading governmental posts. They are no longer satisfied with simple economic cooperation with the authorities. What is more, it is allegedly said that Russian oligarchs are cherishing the dream of restricting the presidential authority and of turning Russia from a presidential republic to a presidential and parliamentary republic.
Not all members of the Council share this opinion about the present-day political situation. Member of the Union of Rightist Forces' federal political council Valery Khomyakov thinks that "the situation is too dramatized; the theory of plots emphasized in the report is far-fetched." He spoke about the form in which the report was to have been published: "I don't think that we should say Russian oligarchs may organize a coup soon; we should say that the problem of a coup actually exists and there is the threat of a coup." Director of the Institute for Political Researches Sergey Makarov has a similar point of view on the problem. He says: "The report contains a provocative turn connected with the aggravated contradictions between Russia's military and oligarch groups. Authors who developed the final version of the report ignored rather moderate remarks; this is the reason why the report sounds so critical now."

Ivan Yesin

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