Streetwise Professor

October 18, 2010

Lily Tomlin and the Moscow Police

Filed under: Energy,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 7:33 pm

This story has many SWP angles.  Economist–check.  Gazprom–check.  Death by gunshot–check:

A senior economist at Russia‘s biggest company, Gazprom (GAZP.MM), was found dead in his car with a gunshot wound to the head, the company and police said on Monday.

Sergei Klyuka was chief economist in the finance department at state-controlled gas monopoly, which is also the world’s biggest gas producer.

“(Klyuka)…was found dead,” Gazprom said in a terse statement. “The police are inquiring into the cause of the death.”

Klyuka’s body was found early on Sunday in the front seat of his Range Rover in an underground garage in Moscow, with a gunshot wound to the head, the Interfax news agency cited an unidentified police source as saying.

Police suspect suicide, though there was no suicide note, Interfax cited the source as saying. A Czech-made handgun was found near the seat, the report said.

I ask this question in all seriousness, and in full knowledge that the suicide rate in Russia is very high (as is the murder rate): do Moscow police ever not immediately suspect suicide if they have even the shakiest pretext for doing so?  I’m sure investigations of the violent deaths of relatively high up people (albeit in a staff role) at companies like Gazprom could be time consuming, and could lead to places that could create, shall we say, complications.  So just rubber stamping “suicide” on the case makes things easy and tidy.  And knowing that, a murderer (especially a pro) knows that just dropping the weapon at the side of somebody he’s (or she’s) just popped is an easy way to give the cops an excuse not to probe too closely.

Yes, this may sound cynical, but I’ve been following and writing about Russia for long enough to realize the wisdom of Lily Tomlin’s words: we try to be cynical, but it’s hard to keep up.  (BTW, reading “The New Nobility” only stokes the cynicism.)  And it’s a sad commentary that the credibility of the militia is so low that one is predisposed to doubt any statement they make.

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  1. Fortunately, I was never important enough to kill while I was there. I have to say that sometimes I feel very lucky that I came out of Russia unscathed. Your cynicism is certainly warranted, though. This incident will never be solved.

    And by the way, you missed something. Medvedev proposed changing the name of the militia back to its original name of politsia. Based on that, all problems with the agency should be resolved shortly, I’m sure.

    Comment by Howard Roark — October 18, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

  2. Occam’s razor, Russian police style, hee haw!

    Unfortunately the last time there was a police in Russia it was the polizei, which is practically a swear word. (Coincidentally, the Vichy police were called the milice. Also an insult, AFAIK.)

    Comment by So? — October 19, 2010 @ 1:21 am

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