Niece of the governor and daughter of Aleksei Tkachev, a deputy in the Russian Duma, Anastasia Tkachev appears to be the owner of two pipe factories -- Southern Pipe Factory (UTZ) and Factory of Pipe Insulation (ZIT) -- and the head of the development company Masterbuild, making her a billionaire in Russian rubles, something around 3 billion rubles ($97 million). Anastasia, at the business-savvy age of 22, is still a student at Kubansky State University.
The Russian daily "Kommersant" has reviewed some of the finances of the Tkachev clan -- noting that the governor's wife, Olga, owns 100 percent of a Russian company valued at 23 million rubles (the name of the company is not listed).
While bloggers like Aleksei Navalny are going after Anastasia, the speaker of the Russian parliament, Sergei Mironov, recently announced that he is convinced that the regional powers that be know more than they are admitting about the mass murders that occurred at the end of November.
He told Interfax: "I don't believe that the governors of these regions didn't know and don't know what bandits are doing, with their support, on territory they oversee."
The brutal murders of a dozen people -- including four children -- are still under investigation, with eight suspects under arrest and two more being extradited from Ukraine. After a local policewoman posted a direct video appeal to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the Internet, Medvedev directed Prosecutor General, Yuri Chaika, to head an investigation into the corruption in Kushevskaya.
Amid all this gusto for wiping out corruption and clearing out long-entrenched regional lords, it remains to be seen how the Russian government will be able (or even willing) to weed out such a vast network of crime, nepotism, and general regional hegemony.
-- Ashley Cleek