Russian Central Banker Assassinated

Andrei Kozlov The Deputy Chief of the Russian Central Bank was assassinated last night.  He was known for taking a tough line on banking violations – Russia’s banking system isn’t exactly the most reputable in the world – and it appears that one of the banks reacted badly to his activities.

Presumably the assassin believes that they will gain some breathing space for their illegal activities.  I think they’ll be unpleasantly surprised. 

This will be seen in part as a direct challenge to the authority President Putin, who has staked a great deal of his reputation on his ability to turn Russia into a country where the rule of law (if not democracy) is respected.  Expect him to react by ordering Russia’s Central Bank to take an even harder line on banking irregularities across the board.

1 thought on “Russian Central Banker Assassinated”

  1. That’s one possible scenario.

    Another would be that Kozlov was sniffing around too close to Putin and/or “his” oligarchs, and that they are the ones who had him killed.

    Or it could simply be that he was taking too much initiative, looking too good, starting too seem vaguely Khodorkovskish.

    Still another would be that Kozlov himself was corrupt, and was simply getting a payback.

    One thing’s for sure, though. Somebody’s not the least bit afraid of Putin, and this in fact a direct challenge to his authority. As such, sad to say, it’s a good thing, because it’s apparently the only kind of such challenge we’re ever going to see.

    Interesting to ask: What would be the tipping point? Suppose Kasparov went the way of Starovoitova. Would that do it? Suppose the Kremlin shuts down the Moscow Times? Enough?

    Also interesting: Which is worse, Putin stays in office or he leaves in 2008. If he stays, that means an official dictatorship; but it also means he’s not confident enough of his authority to hand it over, and that means there’s still a chance for reform. If he goes, that means at least the pretense of democracy is being preserved, which is at least a little leverage; but he could only virtually go, and still retain the real reins of power, creating a secrete corporatist government that would surely bring the country to ultimate ruin.

    Whoever said that riddle-enigma-mystery thing sure knew a thing or three.

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