According to the results of the September 8 elections, people who have openly admitted that they do not see the difference between public service and work in private business have established themselves in the power of several subjects of the Russian Federation. “There is no fundamental difference in the management of the region and the company,” said the governor of the Lipetsk region, Igor Artamonov, in his first interview after the election. And he is not alone.
In recent years, one often hears that due to the strengthening of the “vertical of power”, oligarchs were removed from government. In fact, they still rule the country, only through their representatives.
Until October last year, Artamonov had nothing to do with either the civil service or the Lipetsk region. Before becoming an official, he worked for 26 years in the structures of Sberbank, went from the head of the lending department in Budennovsk to Deputy German Gref.
Sberbank has traditionally been one of the main lobbyists in the regional elections, although it tries not to advertise this. In particular, in the last election, Gref’s team apparently actively supported Alexander Beglov in St. Petersburg, whom he considered Andrei Kostin to be a VTB group. However, the promotion of Igor Artamonov in the Lipetsk region is unlikely to be part of the confrontation between bank clans. Why does Gref have his own governor in this not the richest Russian region?
Gref Banker in the region
That seems to be why. The largest in Russia Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant (NLMK), controlled by billionaire Vladimir Lisin, who, in turn, is a large borrower of Sberbank, is located in Lipetsk. “They write that Lisin is in hopeless debtors from Sber. That is why the acting governor of Lipetsk became Gref's man. The refund, but rather the transfer of rights to NLMK, should take place under control, ”economist Nikita Krichevsky shared in his telegram channel. Probably, for this reason, the Novolipetsk Combine openly supported the election of Acting Governor Artamonov along with his former employer.
It is funny, but at about the same time that the country's leadership criticized German Gref for refusing to help the residents of the Irkutsk region affected by the flood, the head of the country's largest retail bank came to Lipetsk to inaugurate the renewed city park with Artamonov. Sberbank allocated money for the reconstruction of Bykhanov Garden - 127 million rubles last fall, almost simultaneously with the appointment of the former vice president of the bank as interim governor. In fact, it looked like charity, but in fact - like the start of an election campaign.
Apparently, the interests of Sberbank in the region under the leadership of Igor Artamonov are not limited to NLMK's business, but extend to the Lipetsk Special Economic Zone (SEZ) - one of the few successful in Russia.
In 2018, 10 new companies registered there, and a total of 62 residents work in the SEZ, and in addition to Russian companies, we are talking about representatives of 16 countries, including the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, France and Germany. It is unlikely that anyone would be surprised if in the next couple of years we see how Sberbank provides loans to residents of the SEZ under the guarantees of the regional government. In this scenario, the collapse of the borrower will mean that Lipetsk taxpayers will pay for it. Aw! Lipskans, did you subscribe to this?
Accountant Lisina in Transbaikalia