National leader improves transparency
One day after the $4 Billion scam at Transneft is revealed, Putin publicly thanks Transneft management, presumably to give people a clearer idea about who is covering up this theft. This is a welcome step that will help make corruption in Russia more transparent. Until now, he would usually take his time to reward the thieves.
"The leaking of an official report suggesting $4 billion was stolen by Transneft insiders during the construction of a pipeline to the Chinese border was greeted Wednesday with the government offering congratulations to the state-controlled oil pipeline operator for completing the project.
"They stole. They overstated prices. They connived with contractors to cheat. Then they destroyed the documents," Andrei Navalny, a minority Transneft shareholder and lawyer, wrote on his blog, where he published what he described as a Transneft report requested by the Audit Chamber.
The Kremlin has made no comment about the matter.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he could see "no necessity to comment on the blog."
"If there had been something going on, we would surely have been informed directly" by the Audit Chamber," he said, RIA-Novosti reported.
But the government did release a statement Wednesday congratulating Transneft on the completion of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline, or ESPO, to the Chinese border.
The government "expressed its thanks" to Transneft "for a big investment in the development of cooperation in the field of energy between the Russia and China and the completion of the pipeline from Skovorodino to the Chinese border," according to the statement carried by RIA-Novosti....."