Events unfolding recently in Khabarovsk, and also some smaller cities in Khabarovsk Krai, give an idea of what is going on in Russia today, what do you think of its citizens, and the extent to which the West does not understand what is happening there.
It is, of course, about the history of Sergey Furgala — Governor, which a few days ago by the decision of the court was placed in two months detention in the case of an organization committed 15 years ago of murder.
Let’s start with the most simple, that is, with demonstrating the extent to which Western scholars of Russia are poorly versed in the processes unfolding in our neighbor. A renowned expert on the subject, the author of numerous books and articles åslund, Anders (Anders Åslund) published in the Tweeter review, wondering in it as the man accused of belonging to a criminal group in 2004-2005, could be appointed by the Governor. “Why was he arrested”?— asks the rhetorical question analyst. Because Furgal — member of the “criminal party” Zhirinovsky or because he was in the ranks of the mafia?
I won’t even focus on what is considered to be an expert Aslund did a short recording of two mistakes: not Furgala was appointed Governor, he was elected to that office, and his team literally swept the competitors from the “United Russia”, the ruling party in the elections to bodies of local self-government. Against this background, the fact that Furgala not being charged with belonging to a criminal group, and in managing and organizing murders, looks a trifle.
It makes no sense to argue with Åslund, who apparently wrote your comment without reading as it should with the essence of the case. Meanwhile, it looks extremely interesting. Expert certainly surprise also the fact that two days after its publication in the Tweeter on the streets of Khabarovsk to protest against the arrest of “their Governor” reached thousands of people. It was the largest demonstration in that city since 1991. Similar events were held also in other settlements of the region.
We saw not a one-time performance of the indignant people who marched through the city with slogans “Putin — thief”, demanding freedom and the resignation of the President. Rallies and demonstrations with varying intensity continued in Khabarovsk for three days now. There are proposals to organize the infinite rally, that is something of a local Maidan. Before the protesters spoke, in particular, representatives of the local headquarters of the Bulk, which certainly was for the analysts like oslund big surprise. Press Secretary arrested the Governor of the Hope of Timchenko told the media that “such unanimity, even Khabarovsk region or the far East.” Her words quoted in your expanded report, “Novaya Gazeta”, occupying the ideological position opposite to the one which is the party of Zhirinovsky.
The resident of Khabarovsk Vladimir Kutepov, quoted by the newspaper, recalled that in 2018 in the first round of the gubernatorial election Furgal and the candidate of the “United Russia” Sprat scored about the same number of votes, but the people saw that there was a chance to change something, to establish that the choice matters. Thus Furgal became a symbol of resistance. It is the resistance, the search of any alternatives prompted the inhabitants of the Far East, which is now telling reporters that “everything is plundered, and the wood and oil”, to support the candidate from the Association of Zhirinovsky.
After learning about the arrest Furgala, not hiding his irritation, the leader of LDPR has acted in the Duma with claims against the Russian authorities. He threatened that all members of his party will refuse the mandates, if the Governor does not release. “You need a Constitution? We gave you the Constitution! And you give us the handcuffs on his hands!”, — shouted Zhirinovsky, apparently referring to the recent referendum. The fact, as suggested by the political chief Furgala is politically motivated, and the Governor after 2004-2005, when he, as they say, committed the incriminated crimes, repeatedly tested, but found nothing.
Zhirinovsky puts forward the thesis (and it’s an interesting topic that I’m sure will return) that Furgal broke the agreement with senior officials, and ceased to bring to the Kremlin the suitcases with the money, that is a kind of tribute or dues. Because of this, turned away from him, not helped even the extraordinary loyalty of the Governor of the presidential administration, which wrote many of the media. In this context I remember the case already convicted and sentenced the former Minister Alexei Ulyukayev, who reportedly received eight million dollars from the head of Rosneft as a compensation for agreeing to this public concern bought another state-owned company. Some speculated that the speaker regularly collected tribute, which was to service the needs of Kremlin officials, and so he was surprised by the appearance of zachovava it in handcuffs people.
The second assumption, which was expressed in the Duma, Zhirinovsky, looks interesting. According to this version, Furgal was under the gun because he was prevented to sell to the Chinese a large plant “Amurstal”. And finally, the third possible motive of getting rid of the Governor associated with the approaching elections to the Duma, which on the background of increasing public discontent and the deteriorating living conditions will not be for Putin’s team an easy ride.
Zhirinovsky also declared from the Duma rostrum that if this goes on, there will be an explosion, and the army will stand on the side of the people, so the government does not help any Regarde Zolotov. This is very interesting information, given that closed military bases a number of opponents of the “Putin of the Constitution” was much higher than in the whole country.
According to the newspaper “Kommersant”, Moscow took Furgala “in development” immediately after the elections in 2019, when his team almost forced the local authorities “United Russia”. The signal came from the top, the corresponding order, as reported, was given by the Chairman of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin. Igor Krasnov, who then held the post of his Deputy, and now succeeded, was to initiate a re-examination of material concerning what happened in Khabarovsk in 2004 and 2005. The task has been assigned proven Prosecutor, major-General Yuri Burtovoy, which is known, in particular the fact that “distinguished itself” in the cases against some shareholders of YUKOS and the head of its security service. Everything went like clockwork. The arrests began, and one of the detainees local entrepreneurs remembered that the killing of competitors ordered him Furgal. He made a deal with prosecutors and that his testimony led to the arrest of the Governor.
I can’t say that Furgal — crystal clear man. In the turbulent 1990-ies and the following decade, when Russia was made the capital, there were many corpses, and the political-business-mafia clans fiercely fought for influence. Furgal that have a medical education, then engaged in business and it is possible that the charges against him are without Foundation. But so what? Apparently, the Russian public believes that all members of the elite have blood on his hands, and the origin of their condition is at least questions.
Now you should pay attention to the fact that after the referendum, security forces began strengthening its effects. On ridiculous charges of espionage were arrested journalist Ivan Safronov (access to closed materials he had, and the details of the indictment secret), and the next day Furgal. Both of these cases share the following aspect: Safronov worked as an adviser to the head of Roscosmos, Rogozin, who began his political career in the ranks of the nationalist Rodina party, and Furgal is no less nationalist Association Zhirinovsky. This indicates that if the Kremlin is now something I fear that rising nationalist sentiment and economic populism under the slogans of redistribution from the oligarchs to the destitute majority.
Putin’s statement on the introduction of a progressive tax (it will apply to income exceeding five million rubles) — is a reaction to the growth of egalitarian sentiments: to them on the eve of the forthcoming elections could not take advantage of the national Communists, it was necessary to arrest Furgala.