Sword of Damocles in audit chamber’s hands

When reforms “from the top” fail, they are conducted “from the bottom.” The president has been waiting for half a year for the prime minister to supply him with a coherent concept of the governmental reform. The president’s expectations have proved futile. Mikhail Kasyanov, an experienced apparatchik, seems to have nearly succeeded in burying the idea under the red tape. But the president has turned out retentive enough. And he will try to bring everything to some logical result. This time, the Audit Chamber and the Procurator General’s Office come out as the executors of the presidential will. The role and weight of the Procurator General’s Office is well-known in Russia. But the Audit Chamber’s role is becoming certain only by now. Proceeding from the results of the audits, conducted by the chamber, 48 criminal cases have been launched. And it is not the end of the story. Yesterday, it was announced that criminal proceedings had been launched against high-ranking officials at the State Taxation Committee, State Fishery Committee, the Emergency Situations Ministry, and the Railway Ministry. Maybe, we again deal with a usual staff shake-up being conducted in such a peculiar way. Maybe, it is a well-planned combination aimed to discredit Mr. Kasyanov whose rating has been growing prohibitively fast of late. If Mr. Kasyanov falls, his protector Aleksandr Voloshin, the head of the presidential administration, may well follow him. It also cannot be ruled out that Vladimir Ustinov, the procurator general, having sensed his likely dismissal, has made up his mind to launch feverish activity, giving green light to long-shelved cases. Behind all this may be Igor Sechin, the head of the presidential secretariat, whose political influence has noticeably grown of late.

Dmitri Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2001/10/31/33267.html

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