As of the last tax year, that was the sum in Russian “president” Dima Medvedev’s bank account. It had doubled compared to the year just before he became “president” of the country, although his salary in the intervening three years remained constant and was far lower than he received as the top executive at Gazprom, Russia’s largest business entity. Medvedev’s income remained, laughably, far less than that of Russia’s “prime minister” Vladimir Putin. Two years ago Medvedev’s wife had 50% more than that in her own bank account. Now, she has nothing. When asked what happened to the money by a Russian financial newspaper, the Kremlin refused to say. In a recent survey, over 75% of Russian respondents said that Medvedev, like all Russian officials, was lying when he reported his income last year.
Which is the more nettlesome question: (a) how Medvedev could have such a pittance in his bank account after leading one of the world’s largest energy concerns, or (b) how his account could be growing now that he’s paid much less and his pay is not increasing?
Trick question! The answer is: Neither. The real question, as bogger Julia Ioffe asks, is what is the source of all the cash. And as to that, the Kremlin just won’t say.
At the end of April, Medvedev met with a group of titans of the Russian Internet on the premises of the Russian State Library for Young People. He boldly declared that the Kremlin would not “lay a paw” on the Internet, would not go down the road of imposing restrictions trodden by just a few rogue states.
Days later, it was announced that Medvedev’s KGB had forced the country’s leading search engine, Yandex, to turn over a list of names of donors giving through Yandex to Alexei Navalny’s effort to root out corruption in the Kremlin. The KGB then distributed the information to the Kremlin’s political operatives, including Nashi, who then embarked upon a campaign of harassment and intimidation against the donors. And to top it all off, Amnesty International declared the Medvedev government an absolute failure on human rights and corruption.
So Medvedev was exposed as either a liar or a fool.
And most importantly, a hypocrite. Medvedev is not part of the solution to Russian corruption, he’s part of the problem.