A Finger in Every Pie

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On 3 December 2007 a curious item appeared in the Russian media. It concerned Igor Ivanovich Sechin, a Russian political figure close to then President Vladimir Putin. Kommersant featured a quote from Oleg Shvartsman, head of the Financial-Industrial Group: "For us, the Party is represented by the power bloc headed by Igor Ivanovich [Sechin]." This statement was offered in response to a journalist's question about Shvartman's strategic task of velvet re-privatization. "Who set this task for you?" asked the journalist. Shvartsman's extraordinary answer slipped inadvertently from his post-Soviet lips: "The party! (laughing)."

That's right, he said "the party." (In the original Russian he used the word Партия!) In every place within this story, the word "партии" or "партия" is capitalized when referring to a shadowy entity issuing tasks from behind the scenes. When an insignificant political party is mentioned, the word is not capitalized, so Shvartsman's laugh cannot be mistaken: Партия refers to one thing, without any chance of confusion. There can only be one "Party" operating secretly behind the scenes, and that is the Communist Party (коммунистическая партия). In other words, Comrade Shvartsman was openly referring to the ongoing dominion of the Communist Party Soviet Union and its directives.

The correctness of the above interpretation is rendered indisputable by the fact that Kommersant made the "Party" quote into the article's headline. "Aha!" says Kommersant. "The Party lifts its head and winks at us!" There is no problem with this (for the Kremlin), because the West will never notice references to ongoing Communist Party control in Russia. The White House is too busy to notice. The CIA is far gone, manipulated by double agents. The foreign policy experts are advancing their careers by expounding upon more plausible themes. Even the so-called "conservative" Westerners have become useful idiots. In this case, as in most others, deception succeeds because the victim of deception wishes to be deceived. That is all-in-all sufficient. As Lenin once said: "Tell theWest what they want to hear."

Fast forward to the present, to a related mystery. In Thailand another agent of "the Party" is in the news. His name is Victor Bout (pronounced boot). He has been languishing in jail, wanted by U.S. authorities. In fact, he is soon to be extradited. But the Russian authorities don't want him to fall into American hands. Perhaps this has to do with his ties to al Qaeda and his work as a KGB spy.  In Thailand it is alleged that American intelligence suspects Bout of involvement in the September 11, 2001 terrorist onslaught. Consequently, Washington wants to grab and interrogate Bout. Because Moscow has something to hide, they desperately want to free him. According to Dmitry Sidorov, writing at forbes.com, "The Kremlin seems dead serious about Bout. The mere thought that he could be responding to prosecutors' questions in New York apparently sends shivers down the spines of some high-ranking Russian government officials.  One of these is ... Igor Sechin...."

Aha!  Igor Ivanovich appears once more, presumably in the context of yet another strategic task. What was Shvartsman's phrase? "For us, the Party is represented by the power bloc headed by Igor Ivanovich [Sechin]." In his Forbes piece, Sidorov describes Sechin as having "deep roots in the GRU (Russian military intelligence) that go back to Angola and Mozambique, where he worked officially as an interpreter...." Does anyone remember the assassination of Mozambique's president, Samora Machel, by way of a plane crash in 1986? (See also, the more recent elimination of Polish President Lech Kaczyński.) If only some new crash could be devised. It would be terribly inconvenient if Bout reached America as a prisoner bound for interrogation by the Justice Department and the FBI. It is only obvious that he knows something. Why would the Russian foreign minister look so upset? As Sidorov pointed out, "It is hard to imagine the current regime in Moscow would allow anyone [like Bout] to make hundreds of millions of dollars without a nod, if not a cover, when it comes to sensitive business." And from what we know, Igor Ivanovich Sechin was up to his neck in this business -- which involved weapons smuggling to Communist guerrillas in Latin America and to Islamic terrorists in the Middle East.

To get a clearer picture of Sechin's role in Latin America as it relates to "the Party" and its many strategic tasks: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims that his country's nuclear program was Igor Sechin's idea. Sechin even negotiated weapons sales to the emerging Communist dictator, as well as nuclear technology transfers. In 2009 Sechin negotiated an oil deal with Cuba, allowing Russia to become involved in deep-water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. How prescient! How omnipresent!

One last set of revealing items: In 2008 Igor Ivanovich Sechin negotiated with the BP oil company, which has since fallen on hard times. We should not be surprised to learn that Sechin is an expert in "the economic evaluation of investment projects of transit of oil and petroleum products." He is also the chairman of the board of directors of a leading Russian oil company, and Russia's top energy official. He is also considered the leader of Russia's Siloviki power bloc, which consists of politicians from the security and military services. But most of all, as Comrade Shvartsman revealed: "For us, the Party is represented by the power bloc headed by Igor Ivanovich [Sechin]."

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