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Kompromat Korner March 24, 2006
Kompromat Korner
The latest from Russia's hyperactive rumor mill... By Yasha Levine Browse author Email

Deputy Bakov

Is a Russian State Duma deputy in Yekaterinburg using a kiddy magazine to brainwash kids?

A complaint was filed last week to the State Duma on behalf of the Sverdlovsky Oblast, charging that one of its Duma deputies, Anton Bakov, exploited a popular pre-teen magazine to brainwash the region's youth, according to the Politsovet Information Agency. The offending material consisted of a Deputy Bakotwo-page spread in the pre-teen Prokaznitsa magazine -- which is aimed at girls aged 10 to 14 -- done up in an artsy sepia headshot of the deputy and an illustrated biography in which he's referred to "as a national hero" and "the Urals' brightest political star." In a parallel action not connected to this scandal, voters of the region are accusing Bakov of being an absentee deputy. They are trying to collect enough votes to get him out of office. Wonder who's behind this complaint and petition?

Did a LDPR Duma candidate get a thrashing for dropping out of elections?

It's March 12th, 72 hours before Russia's countrywide election day in the Bryanskaya Oblast and suddenly all but one of Duma deputy candidates drop out of the race. The only man left is United Russian's candidate Viktor Malshenko. The other three contenders folded because they were not given a fighting chance, Gazeta Truda reported. Malshenko's campaign was given massive exposure. "His color campaign ads and leaflets were everywhere! In trolleybuses, in stores, in drugstores, in mailboxes and even in toilets," complained Vassily Shandibin. That is a PR campaign that they just could not beat. But what kind of an election has only one candidate? That would be called an illegal election. Something had to be done. So with 48 hours to go and ticking, Zhirinovsky, the head of the LDPR party, gets called in from Moscow to save the day. After a bit of persuasion, he convinced Valery Khramchenkov, the local LDPR candidate, to get back into the race. A local journalist, Sergei Kudrenko, had the good fortune to see Zhirinovsky's charm-offensive at work.

Kudrenko arrived on the scene just as cops and LDPR party goons were beating Mr. Khramchenkov on the side of the road. They didn't like the fact that he was trying to go into hiding into Belarus with his family in order to escape having to run in the election. 48 hours later, the elections went ahead as planned, this time with only two candidates. The winner: Mr. Viktor Malshenko, of United Russia. Who'd a thunk?!

Mr. Almaz

Is billionaire Lev Leviev a suspect in a joint investigation by Israeli police and the FSB?

I might be going out on the limb by referencing a posting on the Solomin political rumor blog, but his post caught my imagination. Earlier this month, Solomin reported that Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev is suspected of setting up shell companies to truck more than his personal share of diamonds out of Russia. He alleged that the FSB and the Israeli police are cooperating in the investigation, but did not cite any sources. Why is this happening now? Did Russia just catch wind of Leviev's illegal operations or are is it using this as a pretense to take away some of his stake in Russia's strategic resources? Could this investigation be at all linked to a February conversation between Leviev and Boris Berezovsky?

In a transcript of released by, the two billionaires are definitely plotting something, but as they agreed not to discuss anything over the phone, it is hard to say what. They do mention some vague plans for 2008 that involve an American economic strategy, Chief Rabbi of Russia Lazar and the FJC (Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS) to solve the problem of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. Is Berezovsky going to use a Jewish organization to stop the Jackson-Vanik amendment from being repealed? Why? Just to piss Putin off. Does this explain why Leviev is being investigated by the FSB?

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Yasha Levine is an editor at The eXile. You can contact him at

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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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