Change of flag for Vladimir Tungusov, trying to drain votes from pro-government party “United Russia”. Monday morning the political scandal raised in Ekaterinburg, in the Ural Region, one of the criminal centers of Russian Federation.Some of the candidates of opposition “Russian Party of Pensioners for Justice” in local elections in Ekaterinburg are in fact names from Tungusov’s list. The politician, now deputy governor of Sverdlovsk Region, would need the majority in local parliament but he failed with pro-Putin party “United Russia” so he has driven his candidates to the other party. By doing this he probably steals votes from “United Russia”.

An act seen as deeply unloyal, with people waiting to see if from Putin’s establishment will come a punishment for it. It could be a test bench for Putin’s leadership, being Tungusov a particular player in Russia political game.

Tungusov positions himself as a “Grey Cardinal” of Ekaterinburg. According to local sources, the man who controls criminals in the region, one of the bandits that from 1990s entered into the Russian system of power (those who were not jailed or killed). It is however documented that Tungusov was convicted in the late 1980s for willful killing. An article of 5 years ago of RIA News digest reports the conviction of the (at the time) candidate mayor was discovered when law enforcement agencies carried out a planned check of candidates for the post of head of the city of Ekateginburg. It was found that Tungusov was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and released after the expiration of the sentence.

According to rumors, Tungusov would have also full control on Sverdlovsk branch of the “United Russia” party – and the situation changed just right now. For years Tungusov, mainly a free player in Russian politics, has used his political knowledge in Ekaterinburg to keep least loud as possible the protest in a not pro-Putin city. After the mid 2000s, relationships between Kremlin and local political barons began to change and after the last presidential elections with Putin’s 76 percent, it changed also for Tungusov.

But a lot before this year, Vladimir Tungusov was involved in corruption scandals. In 2004, a scandal broke out when it became known that Tungusov’s relationship “Our Home” with some companies from Germany became the subject of investigation of criminal case No. 353409 instituted by the Sverdlovsk region’s Department of Internal Affairs on the facts of embezzlement of public funds worth over $ 3 million. For local bloggers it is also worth remembering the scandalous story associated with the activities of the EMLC “Vodokanal”. So, according to the deputy of the municipal duma Maxim Petlin, the money of the EMLC “Vodokanal” can go to support the “Tungusov clan”. “Vodokanal has one investment program for 70 billion rubles, we can only imagine what money is used to strengthen the clan – Petlin said on that occasion – Moreover, Tungusov was also accused of “political betrayal”. So in the previous elections, the Yekaterinburg cell of United Russia directed the money it received to finance the lists, with which the Tungusov was getting closer.

These scandals made the Grey Cardinal lose quite a lot of his influence, who he seems he’s trying to regain going against his formal boss, governer Evgeniy Kuivashev, and against Putin. Last but not least, probably common people risk to be the first victim of these political clash.

Photo Ekaterinburg di Pawel Maryanov is under license CC BY 2.0

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