Vasily Bochkarev’s struggle to maintain influence a cause for alarm – opinion
Penza, 3 August 2015. PenzaNews. Vasily Bochkarev, formerly a governor of the Penza region from 1998 to May 25, 2015, is struggling to maintain his former influence by various means, which should be a cause for alarm for certain officials such as those in the current government as it may disrupt the stability of the region rather than preserve it, an anonymous source informed of the workings in the regional government told PenzaNews agency, saying they chose to remain anonymous because “I still want to remain an official.”
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“It comes to my mind that the myth about Bochkarev’s indispensability, lack of competitors and never-ending stream of ideas – most of which, luckily, did not come to life, – was upheld in a long, arduous and obviously artificial campaign. The myth crashed hard when the Kremlin officials made an absolutely correct decision that I think was impossible to make after the 17 years of the rule. It’s just that the attempts to restore and repaint the myth are still ongoing, though in a lesser scope. It reminds me of an old set of antique plates that broke into pieces because the dining table got too unstable. They threw the pieces away, they seemingly forgotten about it, but tell me if it isn’t keeping nagging you! The plates served you so well for so many years, after all. And the thoughts to pull the pieces out and glue them together to keep a memorabilia of sorts keep popping out, even though you wouldn’t eat from them anymore,” the speaker said.
In their opinion, the conflict between the acting governor and the leader of the United Russia faction Ivan Belozertsev and the former head of the region Vasily Bochkarev has become visible with a naked eye.
“It appeared due to Bochkarev wishing to maintain his influence over the decision-making process in the region and keep ‘his’ people in power and affiliated businesses safe,” the source suggested.
They also noted that potential graft schemes slow down the economy and leech off hundreds of millions or potentially billions of rubles from the budget.
“Of course this is not comfortable for Ivan Alexandrovich [Belozertsev], and his decisive campaign against graft with deputy chairman Vyacheslav Orel will continue. And it seems this greatly irritates the previous head. By the way, everybody knows that Bochkarev still has an office in the regional government building, two cars with drivers, and two mobile phones, all for the state money! With no functions to perform! A pensioner with excellent state support, he is,” the speaker said.
Discussing the future of Vyacheslav Orel, they announced the news that the fired official plans to remain in the Penza region.
“But perhaps it is not Orel who was laid off who wants it, but Bochkarev? Some make suggestions that such steps would remove any barriers on satisfying the former state servant in agriculture business. If this proves to be true, it’s not secret the cases on all fowl, both high and low, will be submitted to the law enforcement,” the source believes.
The anonymous speaker also described to the PenzaNews reporter an alleged graft scheme in the Bessonovsky area.
“A private businessman was sold farming lands located in Penza suburb from the area property. These are now being transferred into construction zones category to be sold with great profit. Some guess this scheme was developed and is being implemented under the direct guise of the brutal and hyperactive former political heavyweight. If the municipality did this itself from the auction, the money would go to the budget, but the area administration was not allowed to do that by the higher-ups. As a result, the graft schemes ended up at a lost of dozens if not hundreds million rubles for the Bessonovka area budget,” the source said.
“If Belozertsev does manage to fight back the currently free-reigning graft, this will improve the health of the region budget under burden of debt,” they added.