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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pulikovsky Was Simply Too Greedy

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The first round of voting in the Primorye region gubernatorial election ended in a sensation: The young entrepreneur Sergei Darkin ended up in first place. This result was a serious blow to the concept of presidential representatives in the region, since the super-governor of the Far East, Konstantin Pulikovsky, was the one who had insisted so firmly on removing the former governor, Yevgeny Nazdratenko.

And why did they remove Nazdratenko? For the benefit of the long-suffering residents of the region? That's a good one.

They did it in order to initiate another round of property redistribution.

It must be recalled that the present scandals in Primorye stem from the competition between Pulikovsky's deputy, Gennady Apanasenko, and the acting governor, Valentin Dubinin — who had the temerity to run for the post without first securing approval from Khabarovsk, where Pulikovsky is based.

Apanasenko's campaign boiled down to the slogan, "The president supports him." Vladislav Surkov, deputy head of Vladimir Putin's administration, actually came to the region and announced: "If Apanasenko is not elected, we will introduce elements of central administration in the region." It looked like he was a shoe-in.

Khabarovsk's big mistake was that they didn't bother waiting until after the vote to begin divvying up the territory. Take, for instance, the local monopoly fuel supplier, Primornefteprodukt. This was the company that became infamous during the regional energy crisis for selling heating oil at three times the going price. When Pulikovsky's people began digging through the debris of Nazdratenko's mismanagement, they started with Primornefteprodukt, which — it turned out — was partially owned by Nazdratenko's son. Long before the elections, Primornefteprodukt was sold off to a company called Alyans, which has well-established ties to Pulikovsky's team.

They also announced two candidates for the post of head of the regional arbitration court: Both were from Khabarovsk. The newly appointed director of the major local factory Bor is best known for his ties in Khabarovsk.

Not surprisingly, local business circles became anxious. They could see what was coming. The head of the region's largest fishing company, a dinosaur even among our "red directors," was the first to come out for Dubinin.

That's when Konstantin Tolstoshein made his move. Tolstoshein was Nazdratenko's right-hand man who quickly resigned the moment that Pulikovsky showed up in the region. Now, however, with Dubinin on leave campaigning, Tolstoshein appealed to a Vladivostok court to be reinstated. The gambit worked, and Tolstoshein became acting governor. (It is interesting that the judges didn't even ask Tolstoshein what Pulikovsky had said to him that made him resign in the first place.)

As soon as Tolstoshein was installed, all the governor's "administrative resources" were mobilized in support of Apanasenko. The former director of governor-controlled local television, who had been fired by Dubinin, was returned to his post. In short, Pulikovsky lined up with the most odious people in order to ensure his slice of Primorye's resources.

But in the end, Pulikovsky's eagerness was his downfall.

As a footnote, I'd just add that the entire Russian Far East except for Primorye is controlled by a mob boss known as "Jam." Primorye has always been controlled by one called "Winnie the Pooh," who is know for the ferocious violence he has used to maintain his independence. They say that as soon as Nazdratenko was removed, Jam sent his people to the region and they promptly declared the region's independence was finished. Local bandits understood that they too stood to lose if Apanasenko (the candidate "supported by the president") won.

There's nothing more to say.

Yulia Latynina is a journalist for ORT.