U.S. investment banker Boris Jordan has been granted a three-month single entry visa to Russia but has not yet managed to get back the multi-entry visa of which he was stripped earlier this month. Jordan blames unspecified rivals of the Oneksim group with which his MFK bank is affiliated. Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said yesterday that the incident has been resolved and should not "scare foreign investors off Russia" or be interpreted as a sign that the Russian authorities intend to deny anyone the possibility of working in Russia. (Itar-Tass, October 13) Jordan himself said he felt the incident would harm Russia’s image in the financial world. (Financial Times, October 14)
Jordan’s judgment was borne out yesterday as Russian politicians continued to pour dirt over one another in ways that can hardly fail to spark fears that the country’s political battles are undermining efforts to build a transparent market economy. Vladimir Zhirinovsky told a Moscow press conference yesterday that he has evidence that First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov embezzled as much as $18 million while he was governor of Nizhny Novgorod oblast. Nemtsov’s lawyer rejected the allegation, saying the charges were not serious and that Zhirinovsky was merely "playing someone’s game." (Itar-Tass, October 13) More serious was the report in yesterday’s issue of Segodnya, which said that income declarations –introduced by President Yeltsin for top officials earlier this year as part of his latest campaign against corruption — are mere window-dressing since the presidential decree requiring officials to fill out the declarations laid down no procedures for checking the accuracy of the declarations.
Corruption and Conspiracy.