On 18 April, Russian authorities searched the Moscow offices of the Skolkovo Foundation, a high-tech incubator, in a move certain to fuel speculation of a widening rift between Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Reuters reports.
A pet project of Medvedev’s, Skolkovo aims to be Russia’s answer to Silicon Valley by nurturing tech startups. Investigators said they were looking for evidence in an ongoing investigation of embezzlement of state funds at the foundation and seized documents, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Investigators confiscated staff members’ cell phones and later questioned the foundation’s president, billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, RIA Novosti reports.
Reuters points out that the raid comes amid signs that Medvedev and Putin are on the outs. In a video leaked this week, Putin threatens to fire senior officials for failing to implement his social spending agenda – ultimately, the job of Medvedev’s government.
This follows talk of a falling out between the longtime allies since May, when they swapped jobs after Putin won a third presidential term after a stint as premier. Reuters notes that some analysts say Putin might be angling to scapegoat Medvedev if Russia’s struggling economy doesn’t rebound.