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The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum strives to promote cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech.



Kenen lippua kannat?

Maailmalla omistajat käyttävät fudis- ja lätkäjengejä härskisti maineensa kiillottamiseen. Pian niin voi käydä Suomessakin, jos Jokerit saa uuden omistajan. Siksi myös fanien olisi syytä alkaa miettiä muutakin kuin aloituskokoonpanoja.

“Putinin kaverit” kiinnostuivat Suomesta, otsikoi Uusi Suomi. Nyt miehet ovat laajentamassa bisneksiään Suomessa ja saattavat pian ostaa suomalaisen jääkiekkoseuran. Mitä asiasta sanovat he, jotka ovat työkseen huolissaan?



Putin Campaigning in Geneva


Vladimir Putin arrived in the Swiss city of Geneva on 13 June 2011 as a "quasi-presidential candidate," Nikita Robert reports in Tribune de Genève. Officially in Switzerland to attend the 100th Assembly of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Putin's visit is clearly part of his presidential strategy. "Expect lots of news; it will be interesting," said one Putin confidant, promising "surprises." The message was clear: Putin will occupy the front of the media scene, both in Russia and on the international scene.

During his private meetings in Geneva, Putin will discuss the role of Russian oil traders in Switzerland. Gunvor, controlled by Putin's old friend, Gennady Timchenko, has established itself as one of the world's biggest oil traders. Rosneft and Bashneft have opened offices in Geneva and Zurich, while TNK-BP could do the same. Whether this is just a reorganisation of the sales networks for Russia's "black gold" or a sign of conflict between Russia's oil majors, Putin, the grand conductor of Russia's energy policy, will have his say.


Monaco: Putin’s Money Launderette


The Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, launched a two-part investigative series on Russian money-laundering in Monaco and how it connects to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Robert Eringer, head of intelligence to Prince Albert II of Monaco in 2002-2007, is the primary source of the story. Below, selected excerpts from Eringer’s blog:

Monaco scrupulously honours banking secrets and anonymity and does not tax individuals, which is why members of political and business elites from various countries can be spotted among the owners of luxury yachts berthed in Monaco harbour. If you spend a few hours watching the Monaco port, the chances are you will see more than a few prominent Russians.




Russia’s opposition party, People’s Freedom Party, has produced a report accusing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of presiding over a boom in corruption and enriching his inner circle over the past decade. The report, titled “Putin.Corruption,” was authored by former First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, former State Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov, and former Deputy Energy Minister Vladimir Milov.

The report details how once relatively obscure businessmen used their ties to Russia’s powerful prime minister to amass personal fortunes over the past decade. Nemtsov says the general public is largely unaware that people like Swiss-based oil trader Gennady Timchenko, Putin’s former judo partner Arkady Rotenberg, and Bank of Russia boss Yuri Kovalchuk enriched themselves due to their ties to Putin.


Russia’s campaigner against corruption


Alexey Navalny already had a reputation as a rabble-rouser when he showed up at the annual general meeting for Rosneft, a Russian oil firm, in Moscow in June 2009. With a small stake in the company, Mr Navalny wanted to question Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin, a confidant of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, about management strategy and the lack of dividends for stockholders.

“I looked around and noticed a bunch of beefy-looking fellows sitting around me,” Mr Navalny said in an interview in his sparsely furnished offices in Moscow. “I am well known in Rosneft, and they’re not always happy to see me.” Mr Navalny said he approached Mr Sechin afterwards and asked why he had been surrounded by guards. “He chuckled and said it was for my own safety,” Mr Navalny said.

It is, perhaps, no surprise that questions of personal safety arise wherever Mr Navalny goes. Cocksure and irrepressible, he has become Russia’s most vocal and obnoxious minority shareholder, hounding the country’s largest companies with muckraking campaigns against corporate malfeasance and incompetence. Mr Navalny has a small stake in almost every major state-owned company in Russia.


Putin’s Finnish friend owes millions in taxes


Businesses established by the Russian-Finnish oil tycoon Gennady Timchenko owe the Finnish state more than EUR 14 million in unpaid VAT and surtaxes, Helsingin Sanomat reports. The Finnish-registered oil trading company IPP owes EUR 2.2 million in taxes, while the holding company Merropoint owes another EUR 12.1 million. The unpaid VAT relates to deals by Mr Timchenko’s Finnish business flight carrier Airfix Aviation.