Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sochi Corruption Investigation Seen As Stunt

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an official corruption investigation over alleged bribes related to construction in Sochi ahead of the city's 2014 Winter Olympics. Many is Russia view the investigation as a fluff effort to try to convince people that the government is acting against corruption.

The Novaya Gazeta story focuses on Vladimir Leshchevsky, deputy of construction in the Kremlin's Office of Presidential Affairs – a vast empire that owns about $500 billion worth of former Soviet Communist Party property. It alleges that he took about $5.7 million in kickbacks from the Moskonversprom consortium of construction companies in connection with the renovation of two Kremlin-owned Sochi area sanitoriums.

"To really fight corruption he would have to fire [Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin, who is at the center of the Sochi Olympic scandal, but that's not going to happen," says Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and a leader of the liberal opposition who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Sochi in polls last year that some criticized as Kremlin-manipulated. "So he orders an investigation of Leshchevsky, a nobody. It's just a PR action."

Medvedev orders corruption investigation into Putin's Sochi Olympics
The Christian Science Monitor
July 29, 2010