Date: 3 April 2018
A Timchenko’s Partner Benefits from the Tragedy in Kemerovo
The fire in the shopping mall in Kemerovo shocked Russia to such an extent that the Kremlin had to change the governor of the region. Aman Tuleyev, who had governed Kuzbas since 1997 was forced to resign. He was replaced by his current deputy Sergej Civilev. Much points to the fact that this replacement has been planned for a long time, but tragic events in Kemerovo and an outrage of the society accelerated the change. This means that the position of Gennady Timchenko’s, the trusted Putin’s businessman, will strengthen.
The fire in the shopping mall in Kemerovo happened on March 25. According to official data, it killed over 60 people, mainly children. Both the fire and later actions taken by the Russian authorities revealed weakness and an inhuman face of Putin’s regime. It was symbolised by the behaviour of governor Aman Tuleyev, who apologized not to the relatives of the victims, but to the president. Outraged Russians blame the Kremlin and Putin for tolerating corruption in the local administration of Kemerovo and in the Ministry of Emergency Situations, which caused a number of mistakes and incompetence of the authorities – resulting in the tragedy of such a scale. What is disturbing for the authorities is the fact that the wave of protests came from grassroots. It was neither coordinated, nor planned by the members of the opposition, such as Navalny. The outrage of the society and the use of social media were enough. Arrogant speeches of authority representatives, manipulations of federal televisions and blaming the hostile West and its agents only poured salt on the wound. The Putin’s attitude, who came to Kemerovo but was afraid to meet with the victims’ relatives, also exacerbated the situation. A posed photo of the president in the hospital only increased the outrage and damaged Putin’s image. As a result, the Kremlin had to react fast. Tuleyev was forced to resign.
On April 1, Putin accepted the Tuleyev’s deposition and devolved duties of the governor upon Sergej Civilev. Everything points to the fact that Civilev, supported by the Kremlin, will run for election and will probably gain full legitimacy for governing the Kemerovo Oblast and the huge industrial coalfield Kuzbas. Civilev is an ally of Gennady Timchenko. Before coming to Kemerovo, Civilev had owned 70% of shares of the Kolmar company, which is engaged in extraction of coking coals in Yakutia. The remaining 30% is owned by Timchenko, the founder of Volga Group. The Kolmar’s stocks are estimated at 1 billion tonne of coal, and incomes at 4 billion rouble. When it turned out that he was to become a deputy governor of Kemerovo Oblast, Civilev passed his shares to his wife and management to his brother Valery. Sergej Civilev came to Kuzbas quite recently – at the beginning of March. He took up a position of a deputy governor. The fact of his arrival from the faraway Yakutia itself induced gossips, that this position is only temporary, and that he would become a governor afterwards. On 27 February, Putin hosted him at the Kremlin. The president would not meet with an ordinary candidate for the position of a deputy governor. During this meeting, the case of assigning Civilev to the position of the governor was supposed to have been discussed. After the fire on March 25, Civilev represented the local authorities during demonstrations of outraged citizens. Arrogant at the beginning, he quickly changed his policy and even fell to his knees in front of the crowd. Just after, he replaced the “bad” Tuleyev.
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