Bloomberg has a strange news story on a deal brokered between Julian Assange and Novaya Gazeta – the opposition newspaper owned by liberal billionaire Alexander Lebedev and Mikhail Gorbachev. Apparently Assange has granted them access to the full archive, including some “special documents” pertaining directly to Russia (it’s unclear to me whether these are just more cables, or something better). A rep from the newspaper says that Assange wasn’t bluffing when he warned that he had evidence against the leadership, and said that the documents will “expose corruption at the top tiers of political power.” I guess we will find out starting next month.
I figure one of two things is happening: 1) the leaks are mostly innocuous or flattering to the top level Kremlin elite, or 2) in response to the raiding and persecution campaign launched against him, Lebedev decided to take the game to the next level (although it appeared that “problem” was solved by selling shares in Aeroflot). It wouldn’t be the first time that basic bureaucratic thieving backfired into a much bigger problem. Nevertheless, I am betting on the former. The result may be some minor scandals, which could do a good job clearing out a large middle swath of corrupt officials without reaching the top. If Novaya Gazeta had anything damaging, they’d be gagged immediately.