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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kremlin Teams on the Warpath

The governments fight for NTV television continues. And last week it appeared that the main person authorized to wage the fight was Alfred Kokh, head of Gazprom-Media. Kokh explained publicly that the government was ready to overpay by $70 million for NTV. "The deal was super-advantageous for Gusinsky," he complained. But for some reason, Media-MOST head Vladimir Gusinsky didnt want this super-advantageous deal. And the government so intensely wanted to overpay Gusinsky for his business that it promised in written form to let him out of prison if, that is, he sold the government his shares in the media empire. But the government carelessly left its fingerprints on the papers.

What is happening in the fracas over NTV and Gusinsky clearly illustrates certain features of the fight for influence over President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin now houses at least three different teams: the team of presidential Chief of Staff Alexander Voloshin; the security service, or Chekist, team; and the team of St. Petersburg liberals. These three teams are waging war not only against enemies of the Kremlin, but among themselves and for the right to cook Gusinskys goose.

The first person to go goose hunting was Voloshin, a man with experience. It was first necessary to destroy Media-MOSTs banking business, then to disrupt Gusinskys influence in the Jewish community, then and most importantly to poison Gazproms relationship with NTV under the pretext of having the television station pay on its debts to the gas giant. The end result, as Gazprom lawyers have indicated, is to legally bankrupt NTV.

Click here to read our special report on the Struggle for Media-MOST.But the Chekist team apparently saw all these intellectual games as superfluous. Whats to think about? Just throw the man in jail, and in a week well serve that cooked goose on the presidents table.

But these dimwits decided to use the tactics of beer-hall brawls on Gusinsky. And they failed. Because Gusinsky wasnt afraid. And he found within himself the strength to refuse $300 million that they tried to stuff down his throat along with his own broken teeth.

But the fight over Gusinsky isnt just about hunting for a media magnate. Its an instance of the general divvying up of property, which each of the Kremlin teams would probably like to enjoy.

Consider this: Last week, Communications Minister Leonid Reiman, of the presidents Petersburg contingent, withdrew the right to use certain frequencies from the present operators and decided they be handed over to Sonic Duo. As a result, two companies MTS and Vimpelcom suffered. MTS was silent, but Vimpelcom started squawking. Reiman then backed down.

Or consider this: This past summer, the offices of LUKoil and the Tyumen Oil Co., or TNK, were searched. It seems the goal here was simple: to scare the companies so they wouldnt participate in this falls auction for Onako. What happened? LUKoil surrendered and crawled into a hole. But TNK bit its tongue, got the money together, and submitted the winning bid for Onako.

So the authorities have lost three times in less than two weeks. Because they dont yet have the "authority" they need. After all, knowing how to take over a business is different than knowing how to run a government.

Instead of a well-oiled system of governance, the country has a few teams jockeying for position in the Kremlin, seeing it as a tool for gain. Again, theyre waging war with their enemies and themselves.

So winning a fight against these teams will be possible. We just need to hang in there and not surrender.

Yulia Latynina is the creator and host of "The Ruble Zone" on NTV television.