Putins Kleptocracy kindle Ó eBook 9781476795195 õ moneyexpresscard

Karen Dawisha ´ Putins Kleptocracy ePub

Putins Kleptocracy kindle Ó eBook 9781476795195 õ moneyexpresscard è The raging uestion in the world today is who is the real Vladimir Putin and what are his intentions Karen Dawisha's brilliant Putin's Kleptocracy provides an answer describing how Putin got to power the cabal he brought with him the Ven before Putin became president in 2000 She documents the establishment of Bank Rossiya now sanctioned by the US; the rise of the Ozero cooperative founded by Putin and others who are now subject to visa bans and asset freezes; the links between Putin Petromed and Putin's Palace near Sochi; and the role of security officials from Putin's KGB days in Leningrad and Dresden many of whom have maintained their contacts with Russian organized crime Putin's Kleptocracy is the result of years of Dawisha shows how Putin and the oligarchs amassed personal wealth and became the modern day tsar and boyars She meticulously documents Putin building a tight network of powerful allies in politics business and organized crime to dominate Russia As Spanish investigators in 2008 concluded Russia had become “a virtual mafia state” Dawisha’s account is specific and convincing naming names in what reads like a legal brief The amount of detail can be overwhelming but her points come through clearly and while her book takes some effort it is time well spent I knew Putin’s reputation before but now I know how he earned it My notes follow In 1991 the Soviet Union descended into chaos under Gorbachev with the failed August 1991 coup the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the usurpation of power by Yeltsin The economy floundered and law enforcement was non existent Displaced KGB and communist party insiders vied with existing black market mafias for control of businesses and trade They took the country’s money and stashed it abroad Former communist party assets and properties were snapped up at ridiculously low prices Thus the Russian oligarchy was created These tightly connected officials including many former KGB would use their control of commerce for political dominance Their long standing hierarchy which enforced loyalty enabled them to succeed Putin worked for the KGB in East Germany GDR in the late 1980s His roles included monitoring GDR officials and recruiting East and West Germans who travelled between the two Germanys This evolved into stealing information and designs for weapons and high tech goods He also was sure to secure loot for himself as was common practice When the East German government fell apart in 1989 Putin’s objectives changed He began recruiting former Stasi for the KGB One close associate Matthias Warnig would help by opening a bank in Dresden for KGB and Putin’s personal use Putin would later fill important positions in Russia with loyal friends he made as a KGB agent in the GDR and conceal dirty money through banks such as Warnig’sIn 1991 Putin became an advisor to St Petersburg Mayor Sobchak progressing to deputy mayor in 1994 He embraced the newly established Bank Rossiya which would launder KBG and CPSU money for Putin’s cliue Putin sold lucrative opportunities in state controlled businesses and established a network of friends who rewarded each other with tribute and patronage Collaboration and turf wars with organized crime and mysterious unsolved murders were common Putin was chairman of the St Petersburg Committee for Foreign Liaison KVS from June 1991 to June1996 In this role he was responsible for foreign investment in and via St Petersburg through which 20% of Russia’s foreign trade moved This position facilitated his ownership and investment in numerous business ventures as well as put him in control of a huge cache of favors he could dispense uid pro uo The Mayor’s Contingency Fund proved a good vehicle for money laundering For example shortly after the Soviet Union’s collapse there was a food shortage Authority was granted to trade oil for food Putin’s network bought oil and other raw materials at artificially set low domestic prices and sold it for many times abroad Putin issued the contracts through the KVS charging huge commissions which were put into the contingency fund that Putin effectively controlled The food was not delivered and money from the sale of the oil went into Putin’s foreign bank accounts Putin freuently traveled abroad to manage his affairs during his time in St Petersburg Putin was also in charge of the gambling industry in St Petersburg managing the state’s 51% interest Putin claimed the state was ripped off by operators who skimmed the cash showing losses True but Putin’s security operation was one of the skimmers This was one of many cases where Putin was happy to work with organized crime as long as they knew Putin was the boss who took a generous cut Another example was the St Petersburg Real Estate Holding Company SPAG SPAG was used to bring stashed money in foreign banks back into the country cleanly It could be mixed in with legitimate money from duped foreign investors to further disguise it Much of the gang money originally came from Russia But some came from Columbian drug gangs who bought Russian property later sold it and were allowed to export the money making it look clean Putin always took 25% commission on SPAG transactions for his rather the city’s contingency fund Another vehicle for Putin’s fortune was the Petersburg Fuel Company PTK where the underworld could easily skim cash from gas station sales evade taxes and fix prices But of course they had to share it with Putin and his friends at Bank Rossya and the insurance company Rus’ Another example of easy money for the Putin network was the Twentieth Century Trust designed to fund construction projects The St Petersburg administration made loans to the trust that were never repaid for projects that often were never built the money spirited away by the Putin network Projects that were completed included everything from villas in Finland to land deals in Spain for Putin and his friends In 1996 failing to get his ally Mayor Sobchak reelected he moved to Moscow but retained his St Petersburg connections Putin started using the Ozero Cooperative which funded dachas for him and his friends and provided a convenient alternative to the city’s contingency fund Putin who supported Yeltsin’s reelection got a post in the Presidential Property Management Department a perfect tie in to his past activities The division had a rich collection of properties following Yeltsin’s nationalization of communist party properties These provided homes and investments for Putin’s circle and could be traded for favors Putin directly controlled billions of dollars of these properties on foreign soil He was responsible for reclassifying them He and his friends picked them clean using the best to build their personal fortunes In 1997 Putin became chief of the Main Control Directorate GKU the Russian euivalent of Inspector General This put Putin in control of files collected on him and his friends One who needed special care of was former Mayor Sobchak To thwart pending investigations into Putin’s and Sobchak’s illicit activities in St Petersburg Putin arranged for emergency medical treatment for Sobchak in Paris He had him spirited out of the country on a private plane In 1999 Putin became head of the FSB successor to the KGB He immediately brought in his old KGB and St Petersburg cronies demoted the old hands and got rid of entire organizations that had been investigating economic crimes Putin went on to use his position to protect Yeltsin’s “Family” and the oligarchs against enemies who were trying to expose their widespread corruption In 1999 Yeltsin made Putin prime minister to ensure Putin would stick with him in the fight against his opponents who were planning to create massive unrest declare a state of emergency and unseat him from the presidency Given Yeltsin’s physical and psychological deterioration the Family needed someone strong Who better than Putin? And Putin took control Needing to rally the country behind him Putin’s pals in the FSB blew up apartment buildings in Moscow and blamed it on the Chechens The plan was to terrify the country show toughness in a little war and be the nation’s savior Despite a lot of evidence that the apartment bombings were not done by the Chechens most of the country bought into it and Putin was favored to be the next presidentThe Duma election in 1999 was clearly rigged as the European Observation Mission noted It was no accident that Putin’s opponents’ results were much weaker than expected Similarly there were widespread discrepancies in the votes in Putin’s election victory for president in 2000 Immediately upon being elected Putin went after the media TV and newspapers had publicized his corruption including the FSB bombings blamed on Chechens Investigative reporters were subjected to blackmail threats and even death Media outlets were subjected to cyber attacks and Putin’s puppet intelligentsia engaged in PR to discredit critical journals The ostensible battle in the new Russia was between economists who believed in a free market Western style economy and the oligarchs who controlled most large businesses Putin’s idea was control by the state not communist style but through the oligarchs subjugating them to the Kremlin Those who opposed Putin found their businesses heavily taxed or forced into sale their owners charged with tax evasion or other crimes and imprisoned Those who played ball did well as did Putin who collected a fortune in tribute A good example is the forced sale of the major media outlets NVT and ORT The owner had already been forced into exile but still refused to sell his shares Putin didn’t care about the money just control of the networks which had criticized his handling of the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk In August 2000 the Kursk disaster played out as a huge national drama as trapped sailors tapped out pleas for help Putin had the oligarch’s close associate in Russia arrested blackmailing the oligarch into selling to his designated buyer The new owner uickly appointed Putin’s handpicked administrators to run the networks Oligarchs found themselves regularly shaken down for tens of millions of dollars at a time by the Kremlin for contributions to “charities” One of the beneficiaries was the opulent billion dollar Putin presidential palace in southern Russia which is officially listed as a private residence Its gates are appropriately adorned with the tsarist double headed eagle resurrected to become the new state seal In addition to shakedowns Putin continued to employ as he had since his early days in St Petersburg intermediary companies to skim profits Thus sales and purchases from giants like Gazprom and Petromed were made through these Putin controlled intermediaries which altered prices at will with the difference going to the Putin circleWhat all of this has meant for Russia is astronomical income disparity Forget the top 1%; in Russia the top 110 individuals have 35% of the country’s wealth But despite the country’s vast oil wealth the median wealth of a Russian family 871 is less than that of a family in India Yet Putin’s tightly controlled media validated his strident nationalism winning the average Russian’s support Most Russians buy the Putin line that the West is the cause of Russia’s problems The 110 have prospered due to unwavering loyalty to Putin which is why the 2014 US sanctions following Putin’s Crimea invasion appropriately targeted key individuals The financial interests of Putin’s favored oligarchs and allied organized crime played an underreported role in the 2008 Soviet war in Georgia the 2014 takeover of Crimea and the war in Ukraine The oligarchs sell cheap gas and oil on credit to countries adjoining Russia When the debts can’t be repaid they take euity in local infrastructure in lieu of repayment This creates important economic interests in these regions for the oligarchs Just as in Russia they use criminal elements to exploit local populations for illicit profits in these outlying areas destabilizing them The oligarch’s mafia style tactics pervade not only Russia but everything Russia touches

reader ✓ Putins Kleptocracy ´ Karen Dawisha

The raging uestion in the world today is who is the real Vladimir Putin and what are his intentions Karen Dawisha's brilliant Putin's Kleptocracy provides an answer describing how Putin got to power the cabal he brought with him the billions they have looted and his plan to restore the Greater RussiaRussian scholar Dawisha describes and exposes the origins of Putin's kleptocratic regime She presents extensive new evidence about the Putin circle's use of public positions for personal gain e Here is a picture of George Bush meeting Vladimir Putin Take a look at that stupid grin on Bush’s face A few moments before Bush that subtle judge of human character would have “looked into his eyesand got a sense of the soul” of Pootie Poot and Bush liked what he saw Could that be a small self satisfied smile falling across Pootie Poot’s normally severe face?Here is a picture of David Cameron meeting Vladimir Putin Cameron looks earnest but Putin looks bored Putin knows that the UK has taken privatization further than any other country and the best of the UK state’s assets have already been spirited away Pickings would be slim so no wonder he's boredHere is a picture of Angela Merkel meeting Vladimir Putin Merkel doesn’t look happy while Putin looks amusedCan you spot something in this picture that isn’t in the other two? That’s right – a large black dog Merkel is phobic about dogs and if you believe Putin’s excuse that he didn’t know about Merkel’s phobia and just wanted to be friendly then you will also believe in the objectivity of the review below by “smith” who joined goodreads in November 2014 but who apparently has only ever read one book There surely must be openings for subtle propagandists in the Russian Ministry of InformationChronologically Putin’s Kleptocracy tails nicely onto Lenin's Tomb The Last Days of the Soviet Empire The book begins shortly before the 1991 coup which lead to the collapse and ban of the Communist Party A significant problem facing the KGB in the period up to the coup was what to do with the loot with the billions in funds under Communist Party control that might help sustain its future or at worst provide a decent retirement package for ex spies and apparatchiks The solution was to hide these funds in lawless tax havens far from any government control such as Jersey or the City of London This money became the seed money helping pay for much of the subseuent fraud and theftRight through Putin’s career he has been the man in the right place at the right time In this era he was with the KGB in Dresden so was one of the relatively few KGB operatives with an understanding of foreign trade and business and contacts overseas who could facilitate later fraud This book starts by explaining how Putin began to acuire the circle of friends and cronies that were to support his later career with the next stage working on economic liaison board in St PetersburgPutin’s career in St Petersburg seems to have given him ample opportunity to build his and his cronies’ fortunes and the book goes into some detail in this area This is a daunting read as once you have read through the first few plots to enrich Putin’s judo instructors now billionaires his old interpreter now a billionaire or other ex KGB friends now mostly billionaires you’ve pretty much read them all Two hundred odd pages of secret bank accounts fake invoicing money laundering share swindles wire fraud black market dealings real estate swindles and so on could be skipped by a casual reader or anyone who isn’t researching a crime novelThe latter half of the book gets interesting concentrating on Putin’s election to President A key issue in Putin’s rise seems to have been the need of Yeltsin’s supporters to find a candidate who would issue a Presidential Pardon to Yeltsin and help shut down related corruption investigations as soon as they took office Again Putin was best placed for the job having than a few of his own corruption investigations that needed suppression Putin and his cronies now face the problem of staying in power and preventing their own past catching up with them Thanks partly to the complacency of the rest of the world during the first few years of Putin’s rule during which Bush looked to Putin for support on the misguided and failed “War on Terror” this is looking like a challenge Putin looks well able to meetTo what do we owe the Putin Trump bromance those honeyed words of mutual admiration and affection the Putin's praise is a great honor and the Donald Trump is a very bright and talented person? Could this come from a shared love of bling?The book includes a famous anecdote about Putin pocketing the jewel encrusted Superbowl ring of Robert Kraft the US billionaire owner of the New England Patriots who was attending a trade delegation at the timeIn truth I doubt that a joint appreciation of the use of gold plating in interior decoration is what really ties Putin Trump the US right wing and Fox News together in their communal love in More likely what they have in common is an authoritarian streak as this interesting article on The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether you are a Trump Supporter explainsIn theory the US Right wing should see Putin as an enemy of freedom and American values and oppose everything he stands for but like some love struck teenage girl they just can’t stop themselves fawning over that bad boy persona Frankly it's embarrassingThe introduction to Putin’s Kleptocracy includes a very telling point The author notes that for the first time in US history sanctions against state action Putin's annexation of the Crimea were imposed not on the state itself but on named individuals being the cronies surrounding Putin This book goes a long way to explaining the logic of that approach and is a good case study in where twenty first century authoritarianism can lead

reader Putins Kleptocracy

Putins Kleptocracy Research into the KGB and the various Russian crime syndicates Dawisha's sources include Stasi archives; Russian insiders; investigative journalists in the US Britain Germany Finland France and Italy; and Western officials who served in Moscow Russian journalists wrote part of this story when the Russian media was still free Many of them died for this story and their work has largely been scrubbed from the Internet and even from Russian libraries Dawisha says But some of that work remains This is a pretty good book but I prefer an earlier book by Masha Gessen about Putin titled The Man Without a Face Both detail the criminal steps used by Putin to gain control of Russia but Gessen's book spent time describing Putin and less on the fellow KGB agents and Russian mafia that he used for his rise to absolute powerToday Putin is the most powerful man in the world and by far the richest Western governments looked at his rise and said let's leave him alone and hope he just wants to be the richest man in the world Let's not rock the boat But now we find he wants than being the richest man in the world He wants the USSR back again He is now in the same position as Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin in 1935 Taking land that doesn't belong to his country because he knows the West are weak and cowards just as Hitler and Stalin did and started the ghastly horror of WWII The average citizen in the West neither knows nor cares about it just like 1935 You say it can't happen again We shall see Sixty million died the last time