Inevitably there are already claims that the arrest and prosecution of Russia’s only liberal governor is politically motivated – supposedly as a tightening up exercise in light of the forthcoming parliamentary elections. The Russian authorities of course deny this, and the reasons for supposing a political motive are not obvious. Belykh is hardly a popular figure and as governor of the remote and underpopulated Kirov Region he is hardly a threat to the authorities in Moscow. If he was they would have presumably dismissed him before now. As it happens Belykh is the third Russian regional governor to be arrested on corruption charges this year, which suggests that he has simply fallen foul of an ongoing anti-corruption campaign.…
Belykh’s political longevity notwithstanding the scandals of his administration and his all-too obvious administrative incompetence is an indication of how Russian liberals – far from being the persecuted minority they claim to be – in reality enjoy extraordinary privileges in a country where they are widely disliked. His arrest however suggests that his incompetence and/or corruption have finally caught up with him.Russia recently appointed an independent investigator whose reputation for honesty and effectiveness is high to lead the offensive against endemic corruption. Xi Jinping has acted similarly in China, since corrupt is a major drag there as well as it Russia. Needless to say, the West sees this as an ominous sign of political repression. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Russia Arrests its only Liberal Regional Governor