Russia’s Prime Minister at Helm of Massive Corruption Scheme, Activists Allege
Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
Russia’s Prime Minister and ex-President Dmitry Medvedev, a quiet and unassuming man critics have discounted as a “sleepy clown,” is the mastermind of a multi-billion corruption scheme, activists allege.
Medvedev is at the center of an enormous investigation published on Thursday by the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), an NGO run by Russia’s most prominent opposition politician Alexei Navalny.
According to the report, the assets of Russia's second in command are not limited to the luxurious summer home outside of Moscow that the foundation exposed last year.
Medvedev allegedly owns another mansion near Moscow worth 5 billion rubles ($85 million). The property was gifted to him by Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia's richest oligarchs, the ACF investigation claims.
His other residence in the mountains of Russia's Krasnodar region, often used during winter, was built as part of large-scale Olympic construction in Sochi. Finally, he has a fourth mansion in the Kursk region, ACF alleges.
Other holdings include two large plots of land in Krasnodar, an Italian vineyard, and a lavish residential building in the heart of St. Petersburg with luxurious apartments and two yachts.
On paper, Medvedev is not the owner of this enormous estate, according to ACF. It is owned and managed by several charity foundations and firms, including those in offshore zones run by Medvedev's university classmates. Funding comes from generous donations to these foundations from oligarchs and top-managers of Russia's biggest state companies, as well as soft loans from state-controlled banks.
“It's not like he's trying very hard to hide this,” Navalny wrote in the concluding section of the investigation. “Thousands of people are involved in maintaining Medvedev's schemes and real estate.”
Medvedev, is able to steal so much and so openly “because Putin does the same, just at a bigger scale" according to Navalny.
“Everyone in the government thrives on corruption,” he adds. “This is the main reason why our country is so rich yet the people are so poor.”
Medvedev's spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said it was "pointless" to comment on Navalny's investigation.
"Navalny's report is clearly part of [his presidential election] campaign, he says it himself in the final part," Timakova told reporters on Thursday. "It is pointless to comment propaganda attacks from an opposition figure and a convict," she said.