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‘Putin’s cronies’ tend to be in the news over their ‘immoderate lifestyles’, the shock revelations being usually about palaces, villas, land holdings, yacht collections, vintage car fleets, fur coat depositories, offshore accounts and multi-billion dollar fortunes (all, no doubt, acquired by backbreaking toil in the galleys of government service). In other cases, the luminaries of the Leader’s inner circle themselves rile the public with sensational revelations about, for example, the ‘Chekа hook’ which supposedly saved post-Soviet Russia from hurtling into the abyss.
Sergey Chemezov, CEO of the Rostec (formerly Russian Technologies) state corporation, shuns the limelight. He does not boast of dining on wood grouse with the tsar, or lecture the population on patriotism. He is rarely seen on television unless protocol requires it, and then prefers to say nothing, limiting himself to his trademark smile of an experienced recruiter. This does at least testify to intelligence, tact, knowing his place in the Kremlin power vertical, and an ability to mask his ambitions.