Oh Dima, what were you thinking. Last Friday, Pres. Medvedev and PM Putin engaged in a silly photo op, likely dreamed up by some Kremlin ‘political technologist’ (Surkov!). The goal: show an intact tandem after a politically turbulent week that saw the firing of Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov. The two met in some Kremlin Presidential residence dining room, where Putin brought Medvedev the ‘finest goods’ from Russia’s Autumn Golden Harvest. You get the sense that if Putin pulled out some Pop Tarts, it would have made for a sweet commercial. As it happened, he brought black bread and milk. 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? The question wouldn’t be so relevant if Medvedev was not [admirably] waging a holy war on corruption, and that he has specifically identified violations of public procurement laws as a source of corruption. It is especially bad that his rad $200k speaker system is shown after firing a Moscow Mayor for being corrupt, cutting corners with procurement legislation, etc.