Articles in this series are examining how President Vladimir V. Putin’s system of personalized state-sponsored capitalism allows him to wield power at home and abroad.
According to The Times, weeks after President Vladimir V. Putin annexed Crimea in March, an obscure regulatory board in Moscow known as the Market Council convened inside an office tower not far from the Kremlin to discuss the country’s wholesale electricity market. It is a colossal business, worth 2 percent of Russia’s gross domestic product, and a rich source of fees for the bank that had long held the exclusive right to service it.
Times: “With no advance notice or public debate, though, the board voted that day in April to shift that business to Bank Rossiya, a smaller institution that lacked the ability to immediately absorb the work. For Bank Rossiya, it was a tidy coup set to yield an estimated $100 million or more in annual commissions, yet it was hardly the only new business coming in. State corporations, local governments and even the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea were suddenly shifting their accounts to the bank, too.”
And it goes on… “The reason the Kremlin rushed to prop up Bank Rossiya is the same reason that the United States, and later its European allies, placed it on the sanctions list: its privileged status as what the Obama administration calls the “personal bank” of the Putin inner circle. Built and run by some of the president’s closest friends and colleagues from his early days in St. Petersburg, Bank Rossiya is emblematic of the way Mr. Putin’s brand of crony capitalism has turned loyalists into billionaires whose influence over strategic sectors of the economy has in turn helped him maintain his iron-fisted grip on power.”
You can read the entire article in The Times.
My ten cents worth:
And… how is this any different from the trillions (with a T) handed out by the Bush and Obama administrations to their “Buds in the Banks” – or as Eric “Resigning-to-spend-more-time-with-my-family” Holder called, the “Too Big to Fail and Too Big to Jail”?
Jamie Dimon – recipient of the “Obama Golden Cufflinks Award” and Sir Lloyd Blankfein – “Of Blessed Memory of Those Who Do God’s Work” all received the bounty and largess of the US Government via the Taxpayer – and did the New York Times vilify them, like they are now obsessed with Putin?
It’s lovely and so convenient to have a Bad Guy we can diss – all the while making sure that the bought-and-paid-for hacks in Government fill the coffers of Private Institutions – knowing full well that when those same political hacks who have helped pillage the US Treasury to benefit the banks are looking for work aprés DC, the revolving door opens – no questions asked.
I’d say it sure pays to be Obama’s/Bush’s/Clinton’s/Pelosi’s/Feinstein’s friends as well.
This comment from Norman Pollack says it all:
Excellent documentation. Yet what does a comparative analysis reveal? That crony capitalism is alive and well in both Russia and the West, and that the latter’s criticisms seem odd because the same ideological framework holds true for America and Russia. We feign the same spirit of anticommunism characteristic of the First Cold War (undeniably, we are now into a Second), when in reality the US is jealous of Russia’s capitalistic success.
Attacks on Putin are sour grapes. What is the bailout of American banks, but crony capitalism? What is the cozy relationship between the Pentagon and the major defense companies, but crony capitalism? It does not require a leader, here, Putin, to define the condition. Crony capitalism can be, and is, in America, SYSTEMIC, with Obama hardly passive in advancing the wide cleavage in US wealth distribution.
No one claims Putin enriches himself through crony capitalism, and in fact, I accept his argument that, not the Russian companies, but geopolitical and geostrategic concerns motivate his policies. Can Obama and the US say the same, when he serves as a shill for US business abroad, esp. in the Far East?
The sanctions-business is amusing: a cover for the more ambitious plan to contain, isolate, and weaken Russia–next, ditto, China–as America desperately strives to return to unilateral preeminence in the global structure. The world is de-centered with Russia and China’s rise; America must learn to share power, or else collapse.