Reflections

The Fate of Russia's Liberals

Nov 16, 2016 | 01:06 GMT
The Fate of Russia's Liberals
Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin (L) and Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev attend a meeting in Baku on Aug. 8. Judging by his recent arrest, Ulyukayev has crossed Sechin and is paying dearly for it.
(ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia's economic and political problems are piling up, and they may be putting members of the country's more liberal circles at risk. In the most high-profile arrest to be made in post-Soviet Russia -- and arguably, since the 1950s -- Economic Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained Tuesday on charges of bribery and extortion. According to Russian authorities, Ulyukayev received $2 million from state-owned oil giant Rosneft in exchange for approving the company's purchase of the Bashneft oil firm. The sudden arrest has topped the headlines throughout the day. Ulyukayev was paraded through court, and a stream of Kremlin officials expressed their shock at the accusations against him. But the arrest has also raised some disturbing questions about President Vladimir Putin's involvement in the incident and the fate of the country's remaining liberal elites....

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