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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Original LR Translation: Latynina on Kasyanov, by our Original Translator

The Major’s Syndrome

Yulia Latynina

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

January 24, 2008

Now they want to exclude Mikhail Kasyanov from the presidential elections. But whatever for? So what if Kasyanov runs and gets 2% of the vote? Whom would this bother? On the contrary, it would help legitimize the election.

Remarkably, and almost simultaneously (January 21), something very similar happened: Russia issued an Interpol warrant for the arrest of Mikhail Gutseriev, accused by the Tverskiy court of fraud and money laundering.

This cannot be called an especially wise move. The problem is that the temperamental Gutseriev, unlike others who were in the process of having their businesses taken over by the authorities, did not restrain himself, but instead wrote a letter in which he accused the Kremlin of stealing his company. After which all of his company’s stock was frozen and a federal arrest warrant was issued for Gutseriev himself.

After that Gutseriev’s son was killed. The young man was involved in an auto accident in his personal car, but refused hospitalization (an ambulance crew that arrived immediately after the accident gave him a shot). He returned home, called his relatives to assure them that it was nothing serious, then went to bed - and died.

So the young man died of acute pride - he did not want to bother his father, who already had his own heap of problems without having to worry about an auto accident, a trip to the hospital, etc. Mikhail Gutseriev will always have to ask himself whether his son would have died if he, Gutseriev, had not been in the process of having his business confiscated.

But more to the point: immediately after the accident rumors started swirling around Moscow. That the accident was staged; that the ambulance arrived suspiciously quickly after the accident; that the paramedics injected Gutseriev’s son with poison. And all this was done to trick Gutseriev into coming back to Russia to bury his son. Paradoxically, the rumors were being circulated by both the enemies of FSB chief Igor Sechin - locked in mortal combat with him for the graces of the monarch - and, apparently, his followers, who were trying to highlight the omnipotence of their patron.

Gutseriev is now, as far as is known, still in London.

In this situation, issuing an Interpol warrant for Gutseriev’s arrest would seem, to put it mildly, unwise. More exactly, it was stupid.

Any legal procedure brought against Gutseriev while he is in London will end with his triumphantly receiving political asylum. Furthermore, I doubt that the British public, following the Litvinenko Affair and the Papua New Guinea-like story of what happened with the British Council, will be so skeptical as yours truly is toward the theory that Gutseriev’s son was killed by the Russian intelligence services, who were trying to take over his father’s business.

In that case, you ask, why in the world would they issue a warrant for his arrest - if up to that point he had been sitting quietly in London, not requesting asylum, and apparently even hoping to negotiate for a peaceful resolution to his case? And then, after issuing an arrest warrant through Interpol, you get not only an international scandal and refusal to extradite, but also an enraged guy from the Caucasus, with three billion dollars and a dead son?

The answer is simple: just don’t analyze the actions of the authorities from the perspective of what benefits the Kremlin (Putin, Sechin, etc.). The Kremlin is so little in control of the situation that the actions of the authorities should be analyzed only from the perspective of what benefits the Major [TN: the middle-ranking officer].

What were they thinking, going after Kasyanov? Did they want to give another card to those who are going to doubt the legitimacy of the elections? Certainly not. But here’s poor Mr. Churov, Chairman of the Central Elections Commission. And if he doesn’t expel Kasyanov from the elections, then tomorrow some little cockroach wanting to take his job will come running to the Kremlin with a story about how Churov didn’t exclude Kasyanov because Churov is a secret supporter of the “Orange Plague”. What should Churov be thinking about? The strategic interests of the Kremlin, or his own job security?

What were they thinking, issuing an arrest warrant for Gutseriev? That this time a London court, hearing from Putin, Sechin & Associates, would embarrass them worse than they ever dreamed of? Certainly not. But here’s some Major, charged with going after Gutseriev. And if he doesn’t issue an arrest warrant, then tomorrow some little Captain, wishing to take his place, will come running with a story about how the Major didn’t issue an Interpol arrest warrant for Gutseriev because he’s taking money from him and plotting against Sechin. What should the Major be thinking about? The strategic interests of those who want to steal Gutseriev’s company, or keeping himself out of jail?

Oh, just imagine how much that little Major must hate those s.o.b’s who get to steal whole companies, while he, the Major, has to wince and worry as he slips 10 measly rubles into his pocket.

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