Russian businessmen and politicians preparing to appeal in support of Ulyukaev
The former Head of the Ministry of Economic Development has wide acclaim in the international business circles, and thus a biased trial can cause substantial harm to the reputation of Russia in the world and undermine the already shaky confidence on the part of the business community.
Russian businessmen and politicians are preparing a letter to the President Vladimir Putin in support of the former Minister of Economic Development Alexey Ulyukaev, who was arrested on charges of taking a bribe, an informed source of the CrimeRussia reported.
In their collective address, a group of senior officials and businessmen asks the president to take the investigation of Ulyukaev’s case under personal control to ensure its objectivity.
Alexey Ulyukaev is a prominent figure in the international business circles, and thus a biased trial can cause substantial harm to the reputation of Russia in the world and undermine the already shaky confidence on the part of the business community, according to the text of the forthcoming document.
The draft of the letter, which has been examined by the source of the CrimeRussia, also contains cautious doubts about the Minister’s culpability.
The source notes that a lot of high-ranking officials and representatives of the business elite are ready to put their signatures under the document, including the Head of the Rosnano state corporation Anatoly Chubais and the former Minister of Finance, the Chairman of the Committee of Civil Initiatives Alexey Kudrin. The Head of VTB Bank Andrey Kostin and the Head of Sberbank German Gref may also sign the letter.
The former Minister of Economic Development Alexey Ulyukaev was arrested on the night of November 15 on suspicion of taking a bribe on a considerable scale. The criminal proceedings against him were initiated under part 6 of Art. 290 of the Russian Criminal Code. The Russian Investigative Committee (ICR) reported that the minister had been detained red-handed when receiving a bribe of 2 million dollars. Ulyukaev was supposed to receive the money in exchange for assisting Rosneft in acquiring the government’s stake of Bashneft Public Joint Stock Oil Company. Given the poor state of the official’s health and his high rank with access to state secrets, which does not allow him to be held in a pre-trial detention center, the court placed Ulyukaev under house arrest, until January 15, 2017.
On November 15, Vladimir Putin dismissed the Head of the Economic Development Ministry due to loss of confidence. Earlier, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the President had been fully aware from the start that the Federal Security Service (FSB) had been investigating Alexey Ulyukaev.
Ulyukaev’s detention made a strong impression on Russian society. In the course a large-scale anti-corruption operation performed by FSB, with a number of governors and high-ranking members of the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor's Office arrested, Ulyukaev became the first federal Minister in the history of modern Russia to be accused of bribery.
After his arrest, there were rumors in the media that FSB had been developing other senior officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and the former Minister of Economic Development Andrey Belousov. However, on November 16, ICR issued a special statement, stressing that Ulyukaev would be the only defendant and the case would feature a single criminal episode. All information contrary to this statement should be considered false, the ICR spokesman Svetlana Petrenko said.
Numerous politicians, businessmen, and public figures have already commented on the charges brought against the Head of the Economic Development Ministry. Those with radical views and from the opposition, such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Alexey Navalny, generally believe that Ulyukayev got what he deserved. A number of others who are well aware of the Minister’s work and cooperated with him on several occasions, choose to restrain from making swift conclusions. Both the Head of Sberbank German Gref and the Head of Rosnano Anatoly Chubais were equally discouraged by the news, the incident was "beyond comprehension" for the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Alexey Kudrin believes that "there are too many questions" in this case yet.
However, all of them agree on one thing — the case of the Minister of Economic Development requires a thorough and objective investigation, and these were the precise words used by Dmitry Medvedev at the meeting with Vladimir Putin.