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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In Kemerovo, a Glimpse of Our Future

Last week, the Federal Security Service said it had uncovered a plot against Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev. Implicated in the incident was Alexander Tikhonov, a former candidate for governor of the Moscow region and world athletic champion. Tikhonov is closely linked with the Metallurgical Investment Co., or MIKOM. The firms owners, brothers Mikhail and Yury Zhivilo, invested heavily in Tikhonovs campaign, and their Moscow offices were duly searched.

The rise and fall of MIKOM serves as an illustration of the maxim in Ecclesiastes about the vanity of all things in general and of the nations oligarchs in particular.

Until recently, the Zhivilo brothers were the uncrowned kings of the Kemerovo region. Their holdings included the Kuznetsk Metallurgical Combine, the Novokuznetsk Aluminum Plant and various coal mines.

But it seems their ambition led to MIKOMs demise. They treated the regions bureaucrats like servants, and Sergei Kuznetsov, the manager of the Kuznetsk Metallurgical Combine, announced that he would be the regions next governor. He ran afoul of Tuleyev, and their strained relationship involved the absurd: When MIKOM chartered a flight to send its higher-ups to a soccer match of the Novokuznetsk team Metallurg, Tuleyev asked for a list of all those intending to go and no one was permitted to fly out.

Then Siberian Aluminum, headed by Oleg Deripaska, began making noises about MIKOMs holdings. MIKOM was subsequently run out of the Kemerovo region. The Novokuznetsk Aluminum Plant was bankrupted, and the director of the Kuznetsk Metallurgical Combine was removed after a raid by police sent in by Tuleyev. Finally, MIKOM was forced to sell its coal reserves for a song.

And now we hear of allegations that these ostensibly base capitalists the brothers Zhivilo, who were run out of the region had plotted to get rid of Tuleyev. We should applaud the Siberian security forces for this fine work. But think: Not one high-profile murder case has been solved not Dmitry Kholodovs, not Vladislav Listyevs. And suddenly, the authorities discover a murder that has yet to take place. Until now, no leader of the nations regions (with the exception of Chechnyas Dzhokhar Dudayev) has been killed. But it looks like Tuleyev was set to follow Dudayev.

Still, Tuleyevs death would have changed little for the Zhivilo brothers. They saw their main antagonist as Siberian Aluminum, not Tuleyev.

Indeed, there was no need for the Zhivilo brothers to devise an attempt on the governors life, but this story has greatly helped the brothers competitors. After all, the Zhivilos are still trying to win back their property and were actually able to seize a huge shipment of Novokuznetsk aluminum in St. Petersburg.

Now Mikhail Zhivilo, with a warrant out for his arrest, wont have time to think of lawsuits for winning his property back.

When MIKOM was taken over, the Kemerovo region was something like a testing ground. For it was here that experiments were conducted on seizing factories, control of which was then relayed to the center. These experiments then became known as "the war against the oligarchs."

If you want to know whats going to happen in the nations capital six months from now, look at whats going on now in Kemerovo. Hunting for property is like drug use: You go from the soft stuff to the hard; from the tax police to open battle.

Everyone may simply chuckle when the prosecutor general accuses Vladimir Potanin of underpaying by $140 million for his share in Norilsk Nickel. But if Potanin is accused of planning to pick off the prosecutor general, no one will be laughing.

Yulia Latynina writes for Sovershenno Sekretno.