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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: May 23, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
President Vladimir Putin Re-Confirms Chaika as Prosecutor General of Russia; Navalny Accuses Him of Attack
6 years
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President Vladimir Putin has re-confirmed Yury Chaika, the controversial prosecutor general of Russia, in his position, Kommersant reported. Andrei Klishas, head of the Federation Council's Committee on Constitutional Law and State Construction, said he had a copy of the relevant document. 

"I will see the original soon. When I have the original, I will place it for review at the committee tomorrow," Interfax quoted him as saying.

Klisas said his committee in the upper chamber of Russia's parliament would recommend Chaika's appointment, after which it would be put to a plenary vote. 

There, it will likely pass with little or no objection.

Chaika's current term was due to expire June 22;  he has held the post since 2006. There was some speculation that he might retire, as he passed his 65th birthday on May 21.

Last December, anti-corruption campaign Alexey Navalany released a film about Chaika in which he said his two sons were involved in corrupt schemes but were protected by their father's high position.

One provincial supporter of Navalny who organized a showing of the film saw his event cancelled and was then beaten.

Under Russian law, Chaika was obliged to declare his income, which he posted as 8.79 million rubles ($131,472). He also declared that he had a GAZ-13 automobile, known as a "Chaika" (the word means "seagull" and this style of car has been favored by Russian officials since the Soviet era). He has an apartment (203.6 square meters) and 2 parking spaces. His wife reported an income of 7.59 million rubles, joint ownership in the apartment, and a non-residential building of 175.3 square meters.

His two sons are not required to make public their income and assets. There has been some discussion in parliament about requiring such disclosures but there has not been any Kremlin support for it.

Chaika objected that the film was a "production by Bill Browder and the CIA," referring to the CEO of Hermitage Capital and his campaign for justice for Sergei Magnitsky. Former Interior Ministry official Pavel Karpov, himself on the Magnitsky List, also invoked the supposed role of Western intelligence. While there is no evidence for the claim and the "proof" provided so far have been flimsy and laughable, Kremlin propagandists have continued to claim Browder and Navalny are backed by both the CIA and MI6.

Chaika also later claimed the Panama Papers were a project of Western intelligence. Even so, he said he would investigate the claims about Russian offshores by sending inquiries to Panama authorities. 

In his annual report, Chaika said crime had grown in Russia and cited the cases of 958 officials under criminal prosecution for corruption.

Meanwhile, reported that Navalny said in a blog post today that he believed Chaika had organized the attacks on him and his colleagues by Cossacks during a trip to Krasnodar.

Cossacks surrounded him and his team several times and beat some of them severely by the airport in Arapa.

Navalny says several sources in the region knowledgeable about the relationship between the Cossacks and government agencies said that Leonid Korzhinek, the prosecutor of Krasnodar Territory, could be behind the attacks. Korzhinek had reportedly protected Sergei Tsapkov during his reign of terror before he was sentenced for the murder of an entire family. 

"He organizes such things without a problem with a few phone calls and a few hints," wrote Navalny.

Navalny also commented on Chaika's reinstatement (translation by The Interpreter):

"This guarantees Putin the main quality in demand now in the country: loyalty. Chaika knows that he and his entire family and all his deputies can at any moment be put in jail (entirely justly!) for 20 years or so. And he is doing everything in order to deserve mercy and security."

Navalny said he would file a request to investigate the prosecutor general's office in both Moscow and Krasnodar regarding the attacks on him.

But if there is any follow up, it may be like the lackluster investigation begun after Navalny's film -- with those accused investigating themselves. 

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick