Monday, December 15, 2014

A Look At How Russian President Putin Crushed The Oligarchs

Photo: Russian President Putin. Forbes

The Myth of the Russian Oligarchs -- Masha Gessen, New York Times

Moscow’s most popular joke today is unfunny: “Next year Putin, the ruble, and a barrel of oil will converge at just over 63.” Allow me to translate: The ruble will soon be trading at 63 to the dollar, or nearly double what the dollar was worth in Russia a year ago (meaning most Russians will be roughly 50 percent poorer); a barrel of oil will fall to $63 a barrel, roughly 2005-level prices, devastating the Russian economy; and President Vladimir Putin will turn 63. All three predictions are depressingly realistic: The Russian economy appears headed for disaster just as certainly as Mr. Putin will most likely celebrate his next birthday in October 2015. And more likely than not, he will still be president of Russia then.

Conventional wisdom — or conventional hope — among many of the people who would like to see the end of the Putin regime has long been that a turn for the worse in the Russian economy will make the moneyed elite turn on the Russian president. Journalists, pundits and Mr. Putin’s political opponents in Russia have predicted that Western sanctions and the economic disaster they hasten will result in a coup d'├ętat staged by oligarchs. There is just one problem with that argument: There are no oligarchs anymore.

Read more ....

My Comment: Nothing new in this New York Times piece .... I have been saying the same thing for years. You are now allowed to make money in Russia .... just do not get involved in politics. And if you want to make "BIG" money in Russia .... be prepared to have partners ... and be prepared to share. But there are exceptions to this rule. In Russia ... the establishment is made up of people like Putin and the new rich .... and they do their thing. The second part of this "establishment" is the Russian Orthodox Church .... who now have their land and property back .... and are doing what they have been for a thousand years .... being the moral and religious voice for Russians .... and staying out of politics. The third group is made up of the old elites and families whose wealth and influence always resided in property/land and in their network of contacts .... they lost it when the Communists took over .... but are now back and for the moment are being left alone. And while they stay out of politics .... their growing wealth and influence will eventually have an impact on Russia's political scene .... especially when Putin is gone.

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