Don’t Forget Kaliningrad

Aha!  So there is method in yesterday’s Mironov madness.  It appears the fantastic war of words between rival Kremlin supporters was designed explicitly to produce the headlines that it did – to draw attention away from the political problems that have arisen in Kaliningrad following last weekend’s massive march, ‘one of the largest in Russia for a decade‘ (click for a factbox on the region).  From the Moscow Times

National newspapers including Nezavisimaya Gazeta suggested Thursday that the quarrel was senseless because Mironov poses no threat to Putin or United Russia, suggesting that the sudden scandal was in fact an attempt to move the media spotlight away from Kaliningrad.

A senior member of the Communist Party, Duma Deputy Sergei Obukhov, told Echo Moskvy radio that “two boys are imitating a fight to get public attention away from the problems that led to the mass protest erupting in the Kaliningrad region.”

Meanwhile, the Kremlin seems to have taken the situation there rather seriously, firing Oleg Matveichev, the Kremlin official responsible for domestic politics in northwestern Russia, where the Kaliningrad exclave is located.