The Russia Monitor has a good one on a Putin-Medvedev photo shoot gone awry – provoking debates over how the president got himself such an insanely expensive (and foreign produced) stereo system.
So is the Russian blogosphere talking about this reassuring show of united leadership and stability within the Russian elite? Nope. They are talking about Medvedev’s “vulgar” stereo system, estimated to cost $200,000 (h/t Guardian). This seems a bit steep for a guy who reported an income of $115,000 in 2009, so let’s assume that this was purchased with budgetary funds. The problem is that the system’s individual components are so expensive that each one exceeds the $3,010 limit for purchases without competitive tenders (purchases under $15k can be completed via a simplified procedure). This begs the question, did the Presidential Administration hold public auctions for Medvedev’s system?
No big surprise here – the president can probably just claim he picked the system up back when he served on the board at Gazprom… and besides, all those declarations of income by Russian politicians are a complete joke. No word yet on whether or not Dima subjected his boss to excruciating hours of live Deep Purple bootlegs throughout the breakfast – now that I would take as a sign of independence.