Grigory Pasko: Eastern Promises Broken

Bureaucrats Behind Bars, or “Dictatorship of the law” – Putin-style Grigory Pasko, journalist On one of my business trips to Baikal last year, I made the acquaintance of the mayor of Listvyanka, Tatiana Kazakova. About Kazakova I had been told by an activist –an ecologist who had been an opponent of Kazakova’s plans to build in Listvyanka dozens of hotels, a business center and other facilities. In the opinion of the ecologist, this would cause very much harm to Lake Baikal, which is found but a short step from Listvyanka, and to the Angara River which flows out of it. And indeed, tiny Listvyanka just isn’t suitable for such a quantity of large buildings. Here are needed facilities of another type, but first you’d need to develop the infrastructure and build waste treatment facilities. The first time I saw Ms. Kazakova was in the conference hall belonging to her hotel «Europa» (see photo below). Kazakova was meeting with local inhabitants and was talking about how in the budget of the municipal formation of Listvyanka there is no means for rubbish removal. What was being spoken of was a couple hundred rubles. In so doing, Ms. Kazakova’s hands were carelessly playing around with a mobile telephone of the firm Verty with a value, as people who know these things prompted me, of around 10 thousand euros. evropa072508 The hotel «Europa» on the shores of Baikal (photo by Grigory Pasko)

When Tatiana Vasilievna Kazakova was telling me in her office about plans for grandiose construction within the framework of her project «Baikal-City», I thought: either she will need support at the level of the government of Russia (and that means she will have to give bribes in the millions of dollars), or they’re going to lock her up.On 28 March of this year they locked up mayor of the hamlet of Listvyanka Tatiana Kazakova in jail.On 30 March, organs of the FSB and the investigative committee attached to the procuracy presented her with a bill of indictment under articles 286 (exceeding official authority) and 289 (unlawful participation in entrepreneurial activity) in that she, having been mayor of the Listvyanka municipal formation (MO), in November of the year 2007 without the conducting of a competition had hired the private enterprise OOO “Kommunalshchik”, which received a contract for servicing the housing-and-public-utilities infrastructure of the Listvyanka MO, as well as that, having been mayor, she continued entrepreneurial activity.In other words, the talk of a couple hundred rubles and problems of a housing-and-public-utilities character had gradually flown into a criminal case. Who could have thought?Before telling a bit about Kazakova, I will remind readers about how more than twenty administrators of city and oblast scale throughout all of Russia are found at the present time behind bars. Many governors to this day are found under the close watch of organs either of the FSB, or of the procuracy. The most recent example about which our blog has written is – governor of Primorsky Kray Sergey Darkin. Around ten of Darkin’s subordinates are found either in hiding, or behind bars. A search was even conducted in the dwelling of Darkin himself. However, for now they have not arrested him.One has to wonder, how did such a picture come to be under comrade Putin? After all, almost as soon as he had become president, he had loudly proclaimed about «dictatorship of the law». Furthermore, it was none other than he, comrade from the KGB Putin, who had personally appointed all of today’s governors to their posts. So does that mean that upon appointment they suited him? Yet a mere half year or year later criminal cases had to be cranked up against them.This seems to beg the following conclusion: either all these governors and heads of municipal formations were up to their knees in dirty dealings right from the start (and that no doubt the competent organs knew about this), or Putin is very indiscriminate in his tastes when appointing people to administrative positions. I think that the first variant is closer to the truth: it is precisely for this reason that Putin had appointed them to their posts, because he did know about their dirty dealings. It is easier and simpler for Putin to manage people who have some kind of dirt on them, who’ve got kompromat against them. (In this connection I’m thinking that to Putin are known many facts from the biography of Dmitry Medvedev that are unknown to a broad circle of people. Just like, by the way, certain persons also know well the true, and not the newspapers-and-television, biography of comrade Putin himself.)There is another explanation: the very structure and organization of the executive power in the country has rotted to the core to such an extent that it is impossible to do even a good deed honestly and legally.In the case with Kazakova, for example, her defenders clarified: the limits of the budget are tight for any administrator, especially in conditions when no more than 20% of the funds that are supposed to be received by the budget are actually received.(By the way, I ran into this in other regions of Russia as well: for example, in Vladimir Oblast one of the heads of a municipal formation said to me that he doesn’t have funds for rubbish removal on the territory, because very little budgetary money is allocated for this).Another question: why do they arrest all these administrative persons and lock them up in jail immediately, before trial, not using other measures of restraint – bail, release on their own recognizance, house arrest? Probably because the power knows: all these administrators – are rich people, and if they so desired they could leave beyond the border and live there. In the case with Kazakova the investigation presented to the court evidence that tickets beyond the border had already been reserved in her name. In addition to this, the investigation considers that, found at liberty, the mayor of Listvyanka may exert pressure on witnesses and destroy documents proving her guilt.Several facts from the life of Kazakova, told by her personally (facts taken from various internet sites.About herself “I have three children, two daughters and a son, and two granddaughters. .. In the year 1986 I worked in the October foodstuffs trading organization. Then we for the first time received permission for the independent purchasing of output. And we went to the south – to Bukhara, Dushanbe – for the purchasing of fruit-and-vegetable crops: grapes, apples, melons and so forth. And that is how my business started. We opened then the first small enterprise in Irkutsk. That is just what it was called – irkutsk small enterprise No. 1.”Are you planning to remain mayor of Listvyanka?“Of course. Otherwise why did I come here? I am ready to live the rest of my life among you.”kazak072508Tatiana Kazakova at a meeting with the inhabitants of Listvyanka, not playing with her telephone (photo by Grigory Pasko)About Listvyanka “Pursuant to the general plan of the hamlet of Listvyanka, the shoreline from the monument to Vampilov to the shipyard will be increased in the direction of Lake Baikal by 10-20 meters – depending on the depth of Baikal. Thereby we will resolve the question with the promenade zone, the park [zone], will be able to develop beaches.”“…In Krestovka [a district of the hamlet of Listvyanka—G.P.] they will tear down only dilapidated houses. At the expense of the state, new housing stock will start to be built, and to the people whose houses will fall under demolition, in the new houses are going to be offered apartments. We are not going to be evicting people anywhere.”“… On the techsector [a district of the hamlet of Listvyanka—G.P.] will be a new boiler plant. Correspondingly, inhabitants will not have problems with warmth. On the techsector is planned the construction of an academic center. …Next year we are planning to build as an attachment to the day care center on the techsector one facility. With a swimming pool, with a sport hall. In the Soviet time a hundred kiddies went there, now – 15. On the place of this club, where we are now found, will be built a large four-story club.”About youth What professions will be in demand in the hamlet?“In the main those professions that are associated with the tourist business. Industrial enterprises here in the hamlet, I think, will already never be.”“Listvyanka is experiencing a real tourist boom. Tourists are becoming significantly more than even two years ago. Specialists associate this first and foremost with a change in the external appearance of the hamlet, the active presentation of touristic possibilities at a world level.”listv072508The hamlet of Listvyanka experiencing a boom associated with the active presentation of touristic possibilities (photo by Grigory Pasko)Kazakova’s projectIt was not by chance that Kazakova had tickets to beyond the border. The fact is that she often goes to different countries of the world and everywhere advertises her project – a project for the creation on Baikal of a special economic zone (SEZ) of a touristico-recreational directionality under the name «Baikal-City». For this project she has been actively and not for the first year been seeking sponsors. And certain sponsors were found: from Japan, China…So who was it that Ms. Kazakova did not suit? In order to understand the mechanism of suiting people, let us recall former mayor of Vladivostok Vladimir Nikolayev. Until the decision of the government of Russia to conduct a forum of the countries of the Asian-Pacific region in Vladivostok in the year 2012, Nikolayev suited everyone. As soon as the decision came to fruition, and it became understandable that money for the conducting of the forum would come pouring into Vladivostok (and this is the construction of roads, bridges, hotels and so on), they locked Nikolayev up in jail. They alleged almost exactly the same articles as to Kazakova. Now a Kremlin person is going to steer the money allocated for the forum.“Nothing must threaten Baikal” — the then still president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said a couple of years ago. The year 2007 started with a decree of the government on the creation on Baikal of a special economic zone of a touristico-recreational type. It is entirely possible that the SEZ and the project for the construction in the hamlet of Listvyanka of the so-called «Baikal-City» had interested Putin’s people and that they had decided that money needs to be put in there. And it will be both the state and private investors from all over the world who will be putting it in there. With things being like that, Ms. Kazakova became already unneeded. Putin’s people know only one way to get rid of her – lock her up in jail…By the way, something similar also took place in Sochi after it became known that the Olympiad of the year 2014 would be taking place there. True, former mayor of Sochi Kolodyazhny was luckier: they didn’t lock him up in jail, but appointed him to a management position – head of the corporation «Olympstroy». But they still did remove him from running the city, and therefore from the money flows. And to be the boss of a corporation that in such a short period has to build dozens of extremely complex facilities is not an enviable fate. After all, in the event of the non-fulfillment of all these grandiose plans, all the blame is going to have to be thrown at somebody. This is the same as publicly calling oneself a scapegoat. Under such conditions jail is way better.Addendum:In recent times, charges of exceeding official authority have been levelled at, among others, the heads of Stavropol, Togliatti, Ust-Ilimsk, Tomsk, the town of Svobodny of Amur Oblast, Arkhangelsk, Baltiysk, Khanty-Mansiysk, Vologda, Novgorod the Great. The majority of these bureaucrats are being accused of exceeding official authority and bribe-taking, unlawful entrepreneurial activity, as well as expenditure of state funds not as intended… More than others in recent times charges are being laid against the heads of municipal organs of power. In just a year and a half, more than 40 mayors of Russian cities have had to leave their posts because of court decisions. (Source: