Gambling for Power

5000.jpgThe Moscow Times spoke yesterday of a turf war erupting between the Prosecutor General’s office and the recently created Investigative Committee.  The dispute stemmed from the recent gambling ring bust in Moscow’s suburbs, an illegal operation which was allegedly covered up by the Prosecutor General.  He has, along with several others, been suspended.  Russia Profile has this analysis of the internecine sparring:

While corruption among officials and police is acknowledged to be a serious problem in Russia, scandals like the current one, where government agencies face off in a public manner, are a rarity. In theory, the Investigative Committee, which was created last December by Medvedev to cover crimes of a more serious nature, works alongside the General Prosecutor. Yet it stands to reason that structurally the two agencies would come into conflict as both struggle to define their changing roles.

However, the source of thedisputes arising between the two agencies is not a problem of structure,said Kabanov, as much as one of feuding political groups in theagencies. The Investigative Committee is headed by Alexander Bastrykin, who has had a series of past clashes with Russia’s Prosecutor-General, Yuri Chaika,and the most recent scandal is the product of a clash at the upperechelons of the government. “When the masters are fighting, it’s theservants that suffer,” said Goroshko.

The prosecutor’s officehas been publicly shamed and is currently conducting an internal reviewin several other districts, while the suspended prosecutor general ofMoscow submitted paperwork yesterday that he said would exculpate him ofthe charges that his travel abroad was paid for by Nazarov, RIA Novostireported. While the dust-up continues and the threat of criminalcharges looms ahead, though, it seems that the root causes and easysource of graft from illegal gambling dens will not. “This isn’t aboutgambling, it’s just a pretense,” said Goroshko.

Read the full article here.