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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Transferred to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

Assistant director says that clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, United States, Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid