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

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs