Top Ukraine negotiator biggest earner in Kremlin
The highest-earning Kremlin official in 2021 was not President Vladimir Putin but his aide and namesake Vladimir Medinsky, according to details published on Friday. The former culture minister, now a special presidential assistant who led the recent peace talks with Ukraine, earned 106.8 million rubles – approximately $1.28 million – last year.
That's nearly ten times more than his boss.
Medinsky’s income jumped sixfold from 17.6 million rubles in 2020, while his wife went from a 47.9 million-ruble income to 77.3 million. This is according to the annual asset declarations published by the Kremlin on Friday. A 2008 law aimed at combating corruption made it mandatory for public officials to declare their income, property and real estate possessions.
Rounding off the top three richest Kremlin officials were head of the Expert Management office Vladimir Simonenko with 95.8 million rubles, and deputy Security Council secretary Oleg Khramov with 38 million.
Medinsky led the Russian negotiating team in the Istanbul talks with Ukraine at the end of March, after which Moscow pulled out its troops from the vicinity of Kiev and several other cities in northern Ukraine, in what was termed as a gesture of good will. Within a week, however, Kiev was accusing Russia of “war crimes” and sending a proposal that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said significantly diverged from the one previously agreed upon.
In remarks earlier this week, Putin said that the talks with Kiev have “returned to a deadlock.”
The president’s own income statement showed him earning 10.2 million rubles in 2021, up from 9.9 million the year prior. His property card remained the same – two apartments, two Volga sedans, and a Niva SUV with a trailer. All of his real estate lies in Russia, and thus immune to sanctions imposed by the US and its allies over the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia attacked its neighbor in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, signed in 2014, and Moscow'’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.