(Bloomberg) President Vladimir Putin likened Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea to a family welcoming home a long-lost relative.
Now the family is showing signs of strain. Russia’s federal security service, the FSB, has opened criminal investigations of three high-ranking Crimean government officials, accusing them of graft and other misdeeds. Four regional cabinet ministers have been forced from office in the past few months over allegations of corruption. And Kremlin auditors reported in June that two-thirds of the money Moscow sent Crimea last year for road building couldn’t be accounted for. […]
Concerns about corruption and mismanagement weren’t high on Putin’s agenda when the Aksyonov government took over, says Robert Orttung, a professor at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, who has studied corruption in Russian regions. Authorities in Moscow simply wanted to ensure that the new leaders “were going to back them up.” But now, Orttung says, “these guys are getting out of control.”
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