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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Should Follow Up On Adamov

The State Duma's anti-corruption commission has made some serious allegations that Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov has been involved in activities that amount to an impermissible abuse of power.

Among other things, the report alleges that a U.S.-based company called Omeka Ltd., which Adamov headed, annually supplies $50,000 worth of computer equipment to a secret energy technologies institute, NIKIET, that Adamov used to run. It goes on to allege that Omeka purchased a $200,000 house for Adamov in Pittsburgh.

The report also said the Prosecutor General's Office is investigating allegations that NIKIET violated regulations governing ties with Iran, and may have been involved in unauthorized contacts related to weapons of mass destruction.

And in December 1998, the report says, the state nuclear regulatory body Gosatomnadzor complained to then-Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov that "all of the recent lay-offs and appointments in the [Nuclear Power] Ministry … fail to ensure safe and stable operation of nuclear power plants." In other words, Adamov appointed people without experience to key posts in his ministry. In short, the commission alleges corruption, cronyism, conflict of interest and breaches of national security.

Such charges are troubling for any minister, but they merit even more serious attention when leveled against one who is talking about earning billions of dollars in revenues by importing spent nuclear fuel into a country barely capable of dealing with its own radioactive waste — and who is working hard to sideline Gosatomnadzor so that it can't monitor the plan. If Adamov is to control the flow of money earned from the imports, his record must be irreproachable. In fact, his record must be irreproachable for him to carry out any duties as nuclear power minister.

Adamov has denied the allegations and branded them politically motivated. The point is whether or not the charges are true.

President Vladimir Putin is to be sent a copy of the commission's report. His course of action seems clear. He should request all the evidence on which the commission bases its claims and ensure that the matter is aggressively investigated. He should personally and publicly request that Adamov cooperate fully with the inquiry.

If the report is substantiated, then Putin must seek a new nuclear power minister. If it is not, Adamov will be vindicated. Until then, since the country's national security and a significant chunk of its finances — not to mention the environment — are at stake, Putin should insist that Adamov step down until the investigation is completed.