Security forces, "grey people" that came out of the security apparatus and the military establishment, and were ordered by Russia during the last generation. Sechin has made more significant career in the KGB than Putin himself, and has held many key positions in the administration of his patron. Since 2012 he has been President of the state oil giant Rosneft, the third largest company in Russia (after Gazprom and LUKOIL), the Chairman of the Board since September, which is the former Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder.
Under the leadership of Sechin, "Rosneft" has become a state within a state, with CyberTipline staff $65 billion in revenue and 50 subsidiaries in the country and abroad as well as at "Gazprom". And "Rosneft" even more than "Gazprom" initiated the modus operandi of Putin's system since 2004, when it swallowed up Yukos assets after the imprisonment of the head of the company, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Putin opponent, on charges of fraud and embezzlement.
Sechin has always been directly linked to Putin. Many Russians have long believed that he is the eyes and ears of the successor of the KGB, the Federal security service (FSB), in the natural resource sector, which is the core of the Russian economy and a hub of corrupt power networks in the country.
However, today, Sechin is involved in a very public and symbolically significant - a court fight. He was thrice caused by a Moscow criminal court to testify in the case against the former Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev. But Sechin has never appeared, and his office recently informed the court that he will be busy until next year.
Sechin excuse for his absence was pretty standard: the agenda was lost, and his schedule – which included important government trip to Vietnam and Turkey are not allowed to do. However, there is nothing in the standard that a Russian court issues a decision on giving public testimony of such an important figure as Sechin. On the contrary, in the world policy of the Kremlin, this move looks as weird as possible.
It all started a year ago when the speaker was detained in the Moscow head office of Rosneft, where he allegedly tried to obtain a bribe of $2 million from Sechin, in exchange for support of the planned acquisition by Rosneft of a majority of the state shares of Bashneft, a regional oil company. After the previous conversation on this topic, Sechin reported Ulyukayev FSB, which was prepared to take the Minister into custody.
However, bribery is, how does Russia, so the decision to initiate a case of bribery against a powerful player is never associated with the rule of law. In this case, the real motivation for the decision Sechin to go against the speaker is unclear. Maybe he felt that the Minister needed to be reminded of his place in the Kremlin's rigid hierarchy. Or maybe, according to rumors, the speaker worked with other officials to curb Sechin, giving Rosneft the opportunity to acquire the shares of "Bashneft".
In any case, the plan Sechin – which Putin may not know, is soon turned around so that court proceedings become public. Particularly incriminating transcripts of the secret recordings Sechin, his conversation with Ulyukaev is part of a special operation in which Sechin has played a leading role was announced in September.
Sechin called the court's decision to do business open to the public "professional cretinism". He argues that "such cases must be closed from all sides" because "they contain the state secret". But the truth is that Sechin was as arrogant and foolish by assuming he will not be involved in this case.
Of course, given the role of Sechin the speaker luring into a trap, logic dictates that he was supposed to be the main witness. But in Russia, powerful or well-known figures, such as, for example, Khodorkovsky is not involved in court cases without the direct approval of the Kremlin. No judge or Prosecutor of the Moscow court of first instance, under any circumstances, would not have caused Sechin unilaterally.
So when Sechin was called as a witness under an unlucky room 13 – there was only one logical conclusion: Putin, who has dismissed a number of leading security forces, which brought him to power, decided to put Sechin in place. Grey cardinal "Rosneft" has gone too far.
As in the case of Khodorkovsky, the Kremlin seems to use the courtroom as a platform to explain the position of the Russian elite. This is especially important ahead of the presidential elections in 2018, not least because there are rumors that Putin is looking for a reliable candidate who would take his post, at least for a while.
Even if Putin will again run for office – the most likely outcome, given his penchant for complete control – he'll be looking for helpful Prime Minister. The present, Dmitry Medvedev, has been discredited as ineffective and – to the public, which considers it a political pygmy is not credible, because of the level of personal corruption which was exposed.
Targeting one of the Ministers of Putin, Sechin seemed to play muscles, perhaps believing that it will prove his commitment as a political player in Prime time. On the contrary, this case just showed again that in Russia there is no real "second number"