A couple of months ago, I posted this 3-part series on a housing construction corruption scandal in Crimea. One of the heroes of that saga, crusading blogger Alexander Talipov, is at it again: Exposing a new scandal which has resulted in the dismissal of a top official in the Peninsula’s administration. Here is the story, from PolitNavigator. The reporter, Viktor Orlov, writes from Simferopol:
The villain of the story is a 27-year-old dancer named Igor Kravchenko, head of the “Avtodor” (Russian Автодор) the state-owned company which is responsible for maintaining the automobile highways throughout the Russian Federation. There is this interesting book called “Cars For Comrades” which details the history of the Soviet automobile, including the colorful history of the Avtodor agency. Fans of Russian literature will fondly remember the fictional character Ostap Bender from Ilf and Petrov’s novel “The Little Golden Calf“. In one scene, our picaresque adventurer and his posse are stuck in a small Russian town needing to refuel their “Antelope-Gnu” automobile. Pretending to be the vanguard of an “Avtodor” publicity event called a “road rally” (“Down with Roadlessness!”), the gang of crooks proceeds to milk the town’s inhabitants of free fuel, meals, and other perks, before finally exposed and forced to flee, along the rickety road. Ostap’s slogan when he greets the workers, peasants and motorcar enthusiasts is: “Improve the roads! Down with slovenliness!”
Such a slogan could be taken to heart, even in our modern times. Without functioning roads, life becomes simply ghastly. As my poor car screams out to me, every time we hit a pothole.
Girls: Don’t Post Your Private Lives On Instagram!
Igor Kravchenko’s misfortune is his girlfriend, who likes pretty things. That would be okay, if she just kept it to herself. But, like many Millenials, couldn’t resist conspicuously consuming. She flaunted her fancy life to the public, posting (under the nik “miss_omtis“) a bunch of photos on Instagram — you can see some of them in the Navigator piece I linked above — displaying herself and her boyfriend Igor living it up in a 5-star hotel, the Mriya Resort and Spa at Yalta, surrounded by expensive gifts. The Instagram was noticed by crusading anti-corruption blogger Alexander Talipov, who wondered aloud where the duo got the money for such a lifestyle. A lifestyle which included expensive cars, flights in business class, cosmetics and perfumes, shoes, handbags, helicopters, hotels, parties…. And while all of these good things were happening to them, Crimea’s roads were falling apart from neglect. One recalls that in the summer of 2016 when Russian President Putin visited the Crimean Peninsula, he noted bluntly that he had not seen any improvement in the situation of the roads since 2014. Decades of neglect under Ukrainian administration certainly took their toll on the Crimean infrastructure; but anything that has happened, or not happened, since 2014, is on Russia now. So, no excuses, Russia!
According to Talipov, Igor Kravchenko was not the right hire to turn around the situation with Crimea’s lousy roads. What you needed in this job was true professional, and not a male dancer from the club scene: “In 2013 this guy was still dancing on the stage of a club, in 2015 he is the Acting Director of a Highway Construction firm, in 2016 he is the Head of the Avtodor. This fellow has danced his way to success!”
Talipov’s complaints reached the big hairy ears of Sergei Aksenov, administrative Head of the Crimean Republic. The very day after the New Year holidays, when everyone was trooping back to work, Aksenov called Kravchenko into his office. Kravchenko certainly had “a lot of splaining” to do. But the glib Igor presented a creditable defense: All those expensive dresses, handbags, etc., were all cheap Chinese rip-offs, he informed his supervisor. “Besides, my girlfriend has her own job, she works, and she bought all that stuff herself.”
Aksenov was apparently underwhelmed by Kravchenko’s excuses, and fired the poor man just yesterday (Monday). Well, actually, Kravchenko was not fired, he was allowed to submit his resignation and leave voluntarily. A fact which upset Talipov who, apparently, thirsted for some real blood!
Well, Talipov can return to his job of exposing corruption; and Igor might be able to get his old job back — as a club dancer. Turn turn KICK turn!