News / Europe

Police Search Offices of Russian PM's Pet Project

FILE -Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev addresses medical industry leaders at the Skolkovo Innovation Center, Moscow, Sept. 18, 2012.
FILE -Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev addresses medical industry leaders at the Skolkovo Innovation Center, Moscow, Sept. 18, 2012.
Reuters
— Russian police on Thursday searched the Moscow offices of the Skolkovo Foundation, a high-tech project promoted by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as an answer to Silicon Valley.
 
The raid is likely to deepen speculation that Medvedev has fallen out of favor with President Vladimir Putin, who threatened this week to sack senior officials in a leaked video widely seen as a warning to his long-time ally.
 
Skolkovo was set up in 2010, when Medvedev was president, to help incubate innovative companies in high-tech industries to try to help diversify the oil and gas-dependent Russian economy.
 
Federal investigators said the search of the foundation's central Moscow offices was part of an investigation into the suspected embezzlement of state funds at Skolkovo, which is headed by Viktor Vekselberg, one of Russia's richest men.
 
Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, a former Kremlin aide, backed the Skolkovo Foundation's leadership and condemned what he said were efforts to politicize the investigation.
 
"I consider it necessary to note that certain forces are trying to politicize the recent events involving the innovation center [Skolkovo] and spread information intended to discredit the project as a whole," he said. "This is unacceptable."
 
While Skolkovo has won backing from more than 20 global high-tech giants such as Microsoft and Cisco, many observers say that a broader state-led drive to diversify the economy is delivering poor results.
 
Speculation of rift

The opening of such an investigation in Russia would typically, but not necessarily, precede the filing of criminal charges. The Federal Investigative Committee which is leading the investigation reports directly to Putin.
 
Although Medvedev and Putin have long been allies, there has been talk of a rift between them for much of the time since they swapped jobs last May, when Putin returned to the presidency after four years as prime minister.
 
Some political analysts say Putin could make Medvedev, 47, a scapegoat if Russia's economy continues to decline.
 
Leaked video footage on Wednesday showed Putin threatening to sack unnamed senior officials over a failure to implement his social spending plans — for which responsibility ultimately lies with Medvedev's government.
 
Putin, 60, had just told the cameras to stop rolling at a meeting with regional officials and government ministers, and his angry, unguarded remarks revived the speculation that he has lost confidence in Medvedev.
 
Medvedev also faced criticism in parliament on Wednesday after he delivered a report on his government's performance, with one party threatening a no-confidence vote if Russia slides into recession.
 
A professionally produced video by an anonymous filmmaker, posted on YouTube earlier this year, used archive footage and apparently recent interviews to present Medvedev as weak and ready to surrender Russian interests to a conniving United States.
 
Some political analysts say Putin has a record of loyalty to his long-standing allies and that he would remove Medvedev only reluctantly. A significant change of policy would be unlikely as this is dictated by Putin.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid