Friday, September 15, 2006

Death of a Russian Hero?

Yesterday, deputy head of the Russian Central Bank, Andrei Kozlov, died from gunhot wounds protracted when shot down by armed assailants in central Moscow Wednesday evening. Kozlov is the highest ranking official murdered during president Putin's reign and his assassination now sparks indignation and raises doubts about Russia's fight against organised crime.

Kozlov was responsible for cleaning up the Russian banking sector and closed down several banks involved in money laundering schemes and violations of Central Bank regulations. In 2004, Kozlov closed down Sodbiznesbank and this year Neftyanoi bank in high-profile cases against organised crime in Russia. In 2006, the Central Bank has stepped up efforts in the fight against the financial activities of the Russian mafia and banking licenses have been revoked almost on a weekly basis. Therefore, Kozlov was an obvious target for retaliation from criminal elements. That Kozlov refused having bodyguards regretfully facilitated his murder.

Kozlov's death is a tragic blow against Russia's efforts to clean up criminality within the financial sector. The importance of his work cannot be overestimated, while it targeted the core interests of Russian organised crime, restoring a sound Russian economy by legal means. Such efforts by grey bureaucrats are exactly what hit hardest at the mafia as has been demonstrated by both US and Italian efforts to fight organised crime. However dull Kozlov's work might have appeared, his efforts were of great importance in restoring the legality and transparency so much needed in contemporary Russia. His eulogy might therefore read "death of a Russian hero."


El Charolastra said...

sad, sad.
i love Russia's like Chicago in the 20s.

An-Lu said...

However, there may be a successor to Kozlov's work. Even a more reluctant one can do the work.

W. Shedd said...

I think considering Kozlov a hero is really an excellent and accurate depiction of what the man was trying to accomplish. In the US, we have our own legendary individuals who fought corruption in the past ... Federal Agent Eliot Ness and the like. These men are much more legends than flesh and blood these days. 50 years from now, we should hope that men such as Kozlov achieve such legendary stature, for attempting to defeat widespread corruption and criminal elements within Russian society. May there be more men who challenge corruption and continue his work.

Vilhelm Konnander said...

Dear Wally,

The comparison with the US from the turn of the century until the end of the depression is often made with the period Russia is now going through. Similarities are many and the comparison has its merits. The importance of building institutions and regulating the ills of society, as Wilson and Roosevelt did, is equally valid in current Russian development. Here, people like Kozlov are the heroes and forerunners towards a more civilised and humane society.