The ‘Heroes’ Of The Putin Era

May 8, 2018

MBK.Media has put together a compilation of the most disapproved-of recipients of state honours throughout the Putin era. 

The criteria for issuing state honours in the Putin administration often looks curious to an outsider.  Over the years there has been no shortage of scandalous recipients; many of them well-connected by family to the Putin oligarchy, and many others whose record on human rights and corruption is questionable to say the least.  MBK Media has rounded up several scandalous recipients of state honours that aroused a strong reaction from the Russian public.

Unsurprisingly, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov was given an Order of Honour for his ”achievements, active public service and long-term conscientious work”.  This was not the first award Kadyrov received from Putin, he was previously awarded an Order of Courage, an order for “Merit to the Fatherland” and was also ranked as a Hero of Russian Federation. The presentation to Kadyrov of the Order of Honour caused a huge public backlash as it was awarded not long after the murder of Boris Nemtsov, in which Ramzan Kadyrov is widely believed to be implicated.  Kadyrov added fuel to the fire by posting a picture of Zaur Dadaev on his Instagram, claiming that “this is a real Russian patriot”.  At that moment Dadaev was the primary suspect in the Nemtsov murder case.

The head of the Central Electoral Commission of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Churov received an award for his outstanding work during the presidential elections. Сhurov was the head of the Central Election Commission between 2007-2016. Throughout his time in office 4 important federal elections took place: two presidential and two parliamentary.  It was during this time that the ruling party United Russia managed to secure its total majority in parliament.  The democratic opposition criticized Churov for a whole array of falsifications during the elections which resulted in mass protests calling for for Churov to resign. Despite widespread protest against allegations of fraud, Vladimir Putin decided to show his appreciation and quietly awarded Churov the Order of Alexander Nevsky, a decoration given to dedicated civil servants.

Alexey Miller, chairman of the board of directors of energy giant Gazprom, was presented the order of  “Merit to the Fatherland” for his “great contribution… to the social and economic development of the Russian Federation and active social and political activity”.  Miller was the first person from the sphere of business who was awarded this order.

The 25 years old son of Rosneft head Igor Sechin was awarded the order of “Merit to the Fatherland”. Ivan Sechin began work in the oil company as the first deputy director of the department of joint shelf projects in March 2014, and according to Putin, Sechin’s son, throughout this very short period, made “a big contribution to the development of the fuel and energy industry”. Putin also noted Ivan’s longstanding dedication to his work.

This decision was severely criticized not just by the public, but also by the Communist party of Russia who demanded a clarification of the justification for giving a state award to the son of Igor Sechin, one of Russia’s most notorious oligarchs.  In reply, “Rosneft” press secretary explained that Ivan Sechin received an award for drilling in the Kara Sea and his young age shouldn’t surprise anyone.  Apparently such talent runs right through the Sechin family.

In 2002, the “Nord Ost” theatre hostage situation in Moscow claimed the lives of at least 170 people.  Almost 900 theatre-goers were taken hostage by 40 Chechen terrorists over 4 days. Towards the end of the fourth day the order was given to fill the concert hall with gas, introduced through the ventilation system.  The exact formula of the gas deployed by the Russian authorities is kept a secret until this day. According to some reports, the gas contained powerful opiates based on fentanyl that is often used in medical anaesthetics.  If introduced directly to the body it can be deadly.  Despite the fact that the government officially proclaimed that the operation successful, 129 people died, many as a result of the gas itself.  The criminal investigation that followed did not investigate the composition of the gas and its possible effect on human lives.  Nevertheless, it was concluded that hostages died of a “combination of various causes” and not as a result of the gas.  Regardless of the catastrophic events, Putin secretly issued state awards to two FSB generals and an unnamed FSB officer who created the gas formula.

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