The Kremlin’s Bagman Loses Some Deals

Oleg_Shvartsman.jpgRemember Oleg Shvartsman? The dimunitive, shiny-pated venture capitalist who blew the doors off the Kremlin by dropping the “velvet reprivatization” bomb in a Kommersant interview? It appears business has gone south for him and Finansgroup after he got caught up in the spy wars between Viktor Cherkesov and Igor Sechin, and this time it’s not just Tamir Fishman dropping them like a hot potato. Tomorrow’s edition of the Moscow Times reports that the Volgograd, Voronezh and Samara regions and the republics of Chuvashia and Bashkortostan annulled the results of recent tenders won by Shvartsman’s group to set up regional development funds. These funds would receive 25% of capital from the federal government, 25% from regional and local governments, and the rest from Finans-Trust. It seems rather unfair that the first person to blow the whistle on the the Kremlin’s methodology of state theft should be the one to suffer the business consequences, rather than the corrupt companies themselves. If only business transparency were the norm, rather than the exception in Russia, this development would not be news at all.