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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Update: July 27, 2015

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
A Russian Submarine Found In Swedish Waters?

A developing story...

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Former Skolkovo Foundation Vice President Beltyukov Arrested in Absentia

Aleksei Beltyukov, former vice president of the Skolkovo Foundation created to promote tech entrepreneurship in Russia, has been arrested in absentia in a long-standing fraud case, Novaya Gazeta reported, citing Interfax.

The Investigative Committee had a notice on its web site.

Beltyukov was charged with embezzlement under Art. 160, chapter 4 of the Russian Criminal Code and has been placed on the "international wanted" list. Earlier State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev was also arrested in absentia and placed on the same "international" list. This refers to Russia's request to Interpol to put the former Skolkovo colleagues on their list, but it does not mean that Interpol has accepted it.

As we have reported
, Interpol is often misused by Russia to pursue political enemies, but recently Interpol has rejected cases Russia has tried to push, such as their charges against Ukraine's Interior Minister Aven Avakov and oligarch Igor Kolomoisky.

Ponomarev has gone abroad and Beltyukov is described as "in hiding." Their lawyers and supporters say the cases against them have been fabricated. Skolkovo, named for a suburb of Moscow, was Russia's effort to create an answer to Silicon Valley. At first it was favored by then-president Dmitry Medvedev and flourished with Russian state funding and patronage by the Kremlin's "gray cardinal" Vladislav Surkov and some Western investments.

But when President Vladimir Putin switched places again with Medvedev in 2011, it fell under closer control and ultimately suffered police raids and cases against its leadership. Beltyukov was accused of hiring Ponomarev as a consultant to give a lectures series and write some reports for $750,000. Ponomarev has explained that his work actually consisted of running investment seminars for the Russian tech industry, that he completed work and did not receive all of the payments.

A court ordered Ponomarev to pay 2.7 million rubles ($45,580) to the foundation. While he believed the charges were unjust, Ponomarev has returned most of the funds, says Novaya Gazeta.

As we reported, the State Duma had earlier voted to remove his parliamentary immunity to enable the charges to be brought against him.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

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