EDM explores whether or not the arrest of the gas mob kingpin Semyon Mogilevich helps or hurts Dmitri Medvedev. Given that the state television stations were allowed to give the arrests wide coverage, it is assumed that this move represents the latest of the spy wars – but against whom? Eurasia Daily Monitor:
Portnikov added: “It needs to be understood that RosUkrEnergo is not simply an accidental private structure that suddenly became a monopolist in such an operation as the export of Central Asian gas to Ukraine.” (In 2005, RosUkrEnergo took over the sale of gas from Turkmenistan to Ukraine, a multi-billion-dollar business.) “It is in fact one of the elements in the corporatization of the gas economy in Russia. And those groups that are not in agreement with the possible monopolization of power by the groups that are now bringing Dmitry Medvedev into the presidential post are simply letting their competitors know that they still have quite a number of serious levers of influence” (K2kapital.com, January 25). Others, however, believe Mogilevich’s arrest was not an action undertaken by the siloviki to harm Medvedev, but one taken by Putin to protect him. Mogilevich and Nekrasov were reportedly detained by officers of the Interior Ministry’s economic security department, not by the FSB or the Investigative Committee. (The Investigative Committee, which is headed by Alexander Bastrykin and also associated with the Sechin camp, is conducting the criminal case against Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, who was arrested late last year for alleged embezzlement and whose boss, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, is associated with the Kremlin faction that includes Medvedev.) The Interior Ministry’s economic security department is headed by Yevgeny Shkolov, a trusted associate of the president who served together with Putin in the KGB in Dresden.