Of course there is plenty of blame to go around for Russia’s woeful condition, and the political elite is not so much dishing it out as hurling it around, like sophomores in a food fight. Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov blamed his predecessors for destroying the banking system with “financial pyramids”…. Former Central Bank President Sergei Dubinin, now a vice president of natural-gas monopoly Gazprom, denied allegations that he and other Central Bank officials used inside knowledge to tip off banks to sell government notes (GKOs) before the crash. In a nifty double-reverse innuendo, Dubinin said the allegations seemed aimed only at reformers and Yeltsin supporters, not at the old communist leadership…. A radical communist in the Duma, Viktor Ilyukhin, claimed to have documents proving that President Boris Yeltsin secretly owned 26 percent of the Russian Public Television (ORT) for three years in 1994-1997. Ilyukhin says Yeltsin got the shares as a bribe from zillionaire Boris Berezovsky, whom Yeltsin later named to high government office. Berezovsky, interviewed by ORT, did not deny the story but said the thuggish Aleksandr Korzhakov, then Yeltsin’s bodyguard, drinking companion and closest confidante, had compelled the transfer of the shares in a kind of protection racket…. Berezovsky figured more sympathetically in charges levied by an officer of the Federal Security Service (FSB, successor to the Soviet KGB). The officer claims the head of the FSB’s organized crime unit late last year ordered him to kill Berezovsky. When he refused he was denounced for protecting “a Jew who has robbed half the country.” Berezovsky, who recently called for banning the Communist Party for its failure to condemn anti-Semitism, escaped a 1994 attempt on his life, in which a car bomb decapitated his driver.