I normally don’t cover the Hermitage case – it’s reported on widely in the mainstream press and at the Robert Amsterdam blog. But yesterday Hermitage released a video on YouTube detailing the long and ongoing battle between them and Russian organized crime. Here is the video:
Apparently, those involved on the Russian side include officials from the Russian police, which is not the most shocking news. However, Hermitage alleges that officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs are involved. This is particularly significant in light of MVD’s enforcement role in the war on corruption (discussed in my previous post), and the issue of corruption as the number one concern of foreign officials. Here, you have the Minister of Internal Affairs presenting to the Duma about how MVD investigated some Deputy-Governor in Kurgan, while at the same time MVD officials are defrauding one of Russia’s largest foreign investors. Note to Medvedev: foreign investors could care less about a Deputy Gov. stealing $500k from the oblast’s budget; they care about having masked ‘investigators’ raiding their offices and beating their lawyers. While it’s reasonable to start small, Medvedev needs to use this anti-corruption campaign to publicly take out officials like those behind the Hermitage case. If he fails at this task, Medvedev runs the risk of losing control of the process and its potentially transformative impact.