Today, December 8, 2016, the world marks 25th anniversary of the event the vast majority of the Russian World considers a tragic date. On December 8, 1991 leaders of three Slavic Soviet Republics, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, called the Three Sisters, signed the infamous Belovezhskaya Pushcha Accords, which effectively dissolved the USSR, establishing instead the still-born Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The accords sanctified what Putin later called ‘the largest humanitarian catastrophe of the second half of the 20th century.’
The internet, Russian and post-Soviet media have been flooded with various videos and articles, which explain and judge, from their point of view, the events of that day. Many still try to come to terms and understand what happened; many have condemned this day and those who signed the breakup: Russian SSR head Boris Yeltsin, Ukrainian SSR head Shevchuk and Belorussian SSR head Shushkevich.
Between December 7 and 8, 1991, the host of the secret event, Shushkevich, received the other two at his Belovezhskaya Pushcha hunting residence. The gathering and the document signed were so hush-hush that to type up the text of the breakup agreement the trio needed to bring in a typist from the nearby village, along with her typing machine.
Shushkevich later recalled that as soon as the three shook hands, Yeltsin called the US President George Bush. He reported (!): ‘We did it. The USSR is dead.’ But none of the three called legal head of the Soviet Union, President Gorbachev.
Doing its job, Belorussian KGB found out about what amounted to treason, and reported the situation to Moscow. Gorbachev told them to await his command and do nothing. The command to arrest the conspirators never arrived. Four days later, Gorbachev resigned his post as the first and only president of the USSR.
How different the fates of the three signatories of the USSR breakup have been!
Yeltsin is no longer living; in 1999, he publicly apologized to the Russian people for everything he’d done and named Putin as his successor.
Kravchuk, using his position as the first president of Ukraine, managed to steal many millions, but nothing like today’s oligarchs. The ex-leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine, he betrayed his party and his people and turned into a prime Russophobe, creating, with Soros financing, the first version of falsified Ukrainian history – but again, nothing like today’s Kiev junta. Kravchuk continues living very comfortably in today’s ukro-nazi version of Ukraine, which he supports.
Shushkevich still lives in Belarus, hated by his country’s citizens and afraid to show up in public. Belarus President Lukashenko personally authorized the pension for Shushkevich, as ex-president of Belarus, in the amount of… $1.
The condemnation and demands for trial have been leveled against the three Belovezhskaya Pushcha signatories. The accusations of treason are also leveled against then president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev has been the darling of the West, rewarded many times over for his role in the USSR breakup and many disastrous for Russia political decisions. Hated by many Russians, today, he spends his time justifying his actions in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
My readership is mainly English-speaking and very international, and I love it this way! Most of my readers live in North America and generally in the West, although much of the world is represented. So, the question becomes, why should something that happened 25 years ago in the now defunct USSR be interesting to an average person, when there are crucial events happening in the US and EU as we speak: Trump election, vote recounts, Hillary scandals and the uncertainty of the Electoral College vote on December 17; various anti-EU forces may come to power in Italy and the Netherlands, Brexit may have a continuation in Italexit and more…
Considering this, why would any of my readers be interested in ‘ancient’ history? Why would anyone, apart from historians, be looking back?
Very simple: what happened in the USSR in the late 1980s-early 1990s – in other words, Russia’s past – is in fact the West’s future.
Smart people learn from the past? They learn from others’ mistakes so to avoid making their own? Yes, this is true. When you have control over your future… However, there are things in this world that are set in stone. Call it karma or destiny – the two esoteric, spiritual notions that always go hand in hand. Many are afraid of such words, believing only that which they can touch and see.
But here, on FuturisTrendcast and on LadaRay.com, we go well beyond the obvious. This is the basis for Lada Ray’s Spiritual Geopolitics and Multidimensional Universe theory. And this is how I predict the future.
I want to tell you that I agree and disagree with much of what Russian and post-Soviet analysts say about the breakup and the ’90s. I understand very well the emotional response and the desire to go back to those times, to the inviting, albeit maligned in the West, country, now remembered by many with nostalgia and longing.
However, my view is multidimensional and original. You won’t be surprised that it goes well beyond what others tell you. I’ll share my view on what really happened in the USSR in 1991, why it was pre-destined and how it is connected to today’s Earth Shift and the slow collapse of the US and EU, in the upcoming live webinars.
Due to the fact that I foresee many important changes happening in the West and worldwide in the next 3-5 years and beyond, in 2017 I am preparing some very important Lada Ray Webinars. During these live events I’ll spell out in detail what I foresee. I’ll also talk about how the USSR and Western collapses are different, and why so many gurus have been wrong about the timing, nature and details of the US and dollar collapse. Will Trump be able to prevent the collapse, and much more will be discussed.
Please stay tuned for official announcements about my webinars, to be posted in January 2017!
25th Anniversary of Destruction: USSR Breakup and its Fallout
1989 map of the USSR issued by CIA
EXCERPT 1 (ESR3) published in April, 2015
For Russia, Ukraine isn’t a far away, god forsaken land that could be thrown out and forgotten after it has been used up. It is something that is very close and important indeed. US understood that, and that was the reason they latched on to Ukraine.
Certainly, US wanted revenge for Snowden and Syria, as well as for other fiascos, such as the Georgia war and failed Iran invasion, prevented by Russia in 2008. It is also a preemptive strike against Russia and China developing the BRICS and shifting away from the dollar. Most importantly, it is the strike against the new Eurasian Union, launched on January 1, 2015, now joined by Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia, with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan slanted to join soon. Despite the fact that all these countries, apart from Russia, have small economies, it is the Eurasian space that counts. Remember: “He who controls Eurasia, controls the world,” per Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Russians never made any secret of the fact that without Ukraine there can be no fully functioning Eurasian Union. Ukraine had a standing invitation to join. US had to do everything to prevent Ukraine from joining. This was the most important reason for the 2014 euro-maidan and subsequent violent Kiev coup.
USSR BREAKUP AND ITS FALLOUT
Russians also never made any secret of their firm belief that the Russian people are the biggest divided ethnicity on our planet as a result of the 1991 split up of the USSR. The split-up is widely acknowledged to be an illegal handshake agreement between Yeltsin and the two ‘leaders’ of Belarus and Ukraine. Most others, except the Baltics, which seceded before that, just followed suit.
After the hand-shake split up of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus in 1991, the initial idea was to re-create the Commonwealth of the Independent States where the republics would be able to interact and continue enjoying the same economic, cultural and political relationships as before, but voluntarily and without being obligated to do so. This was extremely naïve. In reality, once you destroy something – expect external interests and personal ambitions of local powers that be to move into the void left behind. Western interests were in immediately. Local politicians and the newly born class of oligarchs finally felt free from centralized oversight that kept them in check. Together these forces began the process of trying to separate from the “Mother Russia.” The reason for that is very easy to understand: for those who crave power at any cost, and who don’t care for the well-being of their people and country, it is better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.
Myths were invented, as we are seeing now in Ukraine, that they were separate, and never even close to Russia in any shape or form. But that wasn’t enough, since the influence and pull of the Russian and Soviet culture continued being overwhelming.
For the many people living on the territory of these republics, and not just Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians, but also members of other ethnicities who didn’t plan to break up, it became an utter shock and something they never made peace with. It became a gaping wound and severe confusion and abandonment issues, together with resentment against Russia, developed out of it. That gaping hole of confusion and resentment, plus severe money shortage as a result of the ‘90s crisis and oligarch privatization was quickly filled by the US/EU/Polish propaganda, Islamic fundamentalism, extreme nationalism, and fascism – depending on the area of the former USSR. This was in fact unavoidable.
Many have been blaming Russia for not taking care to stay in the former republics, at least informationally. But the truth is that Russia really never left the republics informationally. Russian presence remained in cultural form, primarily through TV, radio, movies and papers. Russian TV programming was, and continues being, offered in most former republics, except perhaps the Baltics, and as of 2014, also Ukraine. Even in the Baltics it hasn’t been absent entirely, since those interested could always catch some shows from nearby St. Petersburg.
And we can confidently say that the pull and influence of the Great Russian culture was, and continues being, very strong.
However, Russia, since the ‘90s was fighting demons of her own. And that generated even more confusion for the rest of the republics. All of a sudden the underpinning of their mutual relationship, that thing that united everyone: the common past and common achievements as part of the USSR, the common language and culture – suddenly all that became a big question mark as Russians themselves questioned their own heritage.
This was the incredibly fertile ground for the blossoming of the extreme and sometimes violent nationalism in each of these territories. Depending on the region, such nationalism would often turn into a violent denial of anything to do with the USSR and Russia. The best known forms of such violent ultra-nationalism are: the ‘mild euro-fascism’ of the Baltics; the ukro-nazis together with the Kiev junta in Ukraine; Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism fed by al-Qaeda and financed by US/UK/Saudis in Chechnya and Northern Caucasus; roaming bands of drug traffickers in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, who seep through porous Afghani borders, covering up their activities with extreme Islam slogans.
Understanding all that, US targeted the vulnerabilities and vices. Confusion, resentment, greed, pride and deep-seated unresolved issues are the weapons the US uses all over the world. Ukraine proved to be an extremely easy target.
After the breakup of the USSR, the majority of Ukrainians had identity confusion, some feeling abandoned by Russia, others angry and violent, yet others trying to find an alternative vision for their country. As the dark forces in the form of oligarchs and various criminals took over, the western Ukraine nazis started a slow crawling invasion. More and more of them were moving into the traditionally Russian speaking and Russian thinking areas, such as Kharkov, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk. Extremist Jewish organization called Chabad moved into Ukraine and started spreading its influence as well.
MSM, NGOs, school history books were changed to reflect the ‘Russia is the invader and enemy of Ukraine’ hoax. Before long, a new generation of Russia-hating Russians and Malorussians (often referred to as Ukrainians) emerged. But even that didn’t convert enough people as still in 2007 the Gallup poll indirectly confirmed that Russian was the native language and first language choice for over 80% of Ukrainians.
Still, the mass pre-programming was quietly sitting, waiting to be activated. This Manchurian Candidate programming was turned on like a switch when the signal was given. The signal was the Kiev euro-maidan and the February 22, 2014 coup. After that, the relatively reasonable Ukrainians quickly turned into Russian-speaking, Russian-culture Russophobes and Russia-bashers.
The shadow CIA chief, George Friedman (Stratfor CEO) has recently openly admitted that pitting different countries against each other with the idea of weakening other countries in order to advance US interests worldwide was the US weapon of choice. The good old divide and conquer.
TRAITORS WANTED! BIG MONEY FOR SELLING OUT YOUR COUNTRY
Next, a new class appeared in these republics. They still cared about being a big fish in a small pond, but even more so, they cared for big, big money – and for something else.
Enter the US. According to Victoria Nuland, Assistant US State Secretary in charge of Eurasia (US State Dept) and well-known neocon, US spent $5bln so subvert Ukraine. She bragged about that during the Washington Press Club meeting in December 2013. The videos of her bragging were initially posted all over YouTube, but soon they disappeared. However, millions managed to see them and spread the word before they vanished.
Note, $5 bln is just the official number! How much was paid quietly, under the table, through slush funds? How much was funneled through NGOs? How much went through the Soros foundation? How much went through Chabad? Who did the US pay these astronomical amounts to? The names aren’t a big secret.
EXCERPT 2 (ESR2) first published in Febr. 2014; expanded and updated in Febr. 2016
Collapse: Post-Soviet Republics vs Russia
To understand the background of the Ukrainian situation and its artificial Russophobia, it’s useful to look at other post-Soviet republics.
During Soviet days, the neighboring Moldova was in mint condition due to constant infusions of resources by the Russian Federation – the same thing that happened in Ukraine and other Soviet republics. Brezhnev in particular had a soft spot for Moldova as he worked there at one point. Originally, Brezhnev was from Ukraine, and he heavily invested in Ukraine as well. Russia promoted local cultures and heavily invested into industrialization of ALL 14 Soviet republics, including in large part the Baltics: Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. The same ones who love to talk about how “Russians oppressed them.”
After the USSR collapse, Russia withdrew from all former republics to deal with her own problems, and as a result most republics quickly became poor and destitute.
Moldova’s elections are coming up and the country is being torn between the EU and Eurasian Union. While the majority of the population wants to be a part of the Eurasian Union, the elites are dragging the country towards EU and towards absorption by Romania. The amount of anti-Russian propaganda in Moldova is mind-boggling as well. In 1990-1992 Moldova went through today’s Ukraine scenario, on a smaller scale. The result was that the richest, most industrialized and productive part of then Moldavian SSR, Pridnestrovie, seceded. Presently, other parts of Moldova are threatening to secede, especially Gagauzia and the north. (Find more on that in Lada Ray YT Channel videos).
Incidentally, neither Latvia nor Estonia ever existed as separate states. These were territories that passed from Germany and Sweden to Russia as a purchase or based on a peace treaty. I could go much deeper in history, but suffice it to say that it was Lenin, who for the first time gave Latvia and Estonia a status of independent ‘states.’ These ‘states’ only exist thanks to Lenin’s decree. Others, such as Ukraine, only existed as ‘Soviet Socialist Republics’ in the context of the Soviet Union. Lenin was the ‘founding father’ of their respective nations. It’s interesting that instead of adoring Lenin, all these ‘independent and democratic nations’ hate him pretty viciously and destroy his monuments. Just shows the level of reasons and lucidity of these people.
Out of 14 republics (excluding the Russian Federation), only Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, and perhaps also Turkmenistan, managed to preserve their Soviet-built enterprises, making them pay in the new era. Belarus also managed to build and expand on its Soviet heritage, creating the so-called ‘Belorussian miracle.’ Belarus succeeded due to a cozy relationship with Russia, therefore getting gas at heavily discounted prices, making its exports very competitive. The latter three did well enough due to their own huge reserves of oil and gas, previously discovered and industrialized by Russia.
Another location that managed to preserve its Soviet inheritance is the break-away republic of Pridnestrovie (formerly part of Moldavia) – but without any oil or gas.
The rest squandered their Soviet inheritance to various degrees. However, like spoiled brats, some of them blamed Russia for their own mistakes and thievery. The spoiled brats in this case are Georgia, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine. These are all former republics that look to the West. When the USSR fell apart they lost Russia as that ‘parent’ that took care of them, oftentimes spoiling them by giving them more than leaving for herself. Now brats want to latch onto the next ‘surrogate parent’ – EU. The goal is to take, giving little in return. However, the West doesn’t work that way. They won’t give anything for free, in fact they like to take more than they give. Meanwhile, Russia also learned her lesson and doesn’t want to squander her resources for nothing any more.
Thus, the countries that are used to latching on to someone stronger are left in the cold. This breeds irrational hatred that can be maliciously manipulated.
Here is a crucial point to understand about Russia! Unlike the Western empires, such as UK, US, Spain and France, who looted and drained resources of those countries they conquered, Russia drained herself to give to her satellites. Such imbalance had to end badly: on Russia’s side, due to the resentment of the core Russian population; on the side of the republics, due to their sense of absolute entitlement.
As a result, in the 1990s – 2000s, a very strange situation developed, when Russia still supplied Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and Moldova with gas, based on the heavily subsidized Soviet-entitlement-style prices, and in return, Russia got bashing, backstabbing and direct provocations from said republics. At the very same time, large parts, if not most populations of these republics spoke Russian and lived off Russian tourism and banking.
A great example of this is the Baltics: Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. The same three Baltic republics, plus Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, while displaying animosity and openly threatening Russia with NATO expansion, happily continued exporting massive amounts of their products to Russia. This ended recently when Russia adopted a new import policy and embargo.
Subsidizing all these republics was all fine and good while USSR was doing well, but since it took away the resources from Russia proper and gave them disproportionately to the periphery, discontent grew in Russia just before and during the USSR collapse. This generated a desire to be separate from the former ethnic republics in Russia proper, which didn’t help with the general relationship with said republics. Russia eventually recovered and started doing on average better than during Soviet times, thus proving that Russian resources had been indeed drained by the periphery subsidies.
But at the same time that Russia withdrew from the republics, US advisors, Soros, NGOs and NWO neocon/neoliberal influences moved in. Presently, we are observing the disastrous results of Russia’s withdrawal from the geopolitically important territories.
However, eventually the pull of Russia, affinity with her culture and worldview, combined with the economic benefits of working in Russia, proved to be so enormous that before long, massive numbers of immigrants from former Soviet republics flooded Russian cities and countryside.
The ignorant president of the USA, Obama, in a speech designed to calm down the Baltics (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania), recently stated that Russia is so bad that no one wants to live there.
In reality, Russia is #2 country in the world for immigration after USA. At this rate, it will become #1 pretty soon. Massive numbers of residents of various post-Soviet republics work in Russia as guest workers. This especially concerns Ukraine (5.5mln Ukrainians out of arguably 39 million population: 45mln minus 2mln in Crimea and 4 mln in DNR and LNR) and Moldova (700,000+ out of 3.6 mln population). Kyrgyzstan and Armenia numbers are even higher as 1/2 of the population or more work in Russia. Large numbers immigrate from Georgia, Korea, and Central Asia. There are over 3 million Chinese immigrants in Russia. There is growing immigration from the West as well.
Meanwhile, up to 1/2 of the population of the Baltics immigrated to the West. Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are empty.
Western Propaganda in Ukraine; how Hatred Was Ignited and Maintained
The Western style propaganda war was unleashed in the oligarch and Western NGO-controlled Ukrainian media throughout the 1990s and 2000s. It has culminated between 2004 Orange Revolution and now. Soros-sponsored history books rewrote the entire history of Ukraine to prove that Ukrainians were completely separate from Russians. Western-trained journalists and Western-sponsored newspapers and TV have been promoting “western values’ and bashing anything Russian for over 20 years.
Most journalists from Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries were trained in Poland. Poland acted, and still does, as the massive training camp for anti-Russian media, opposition politicians and color revolutionary training (meaning how to throw Molotov cocktails more effectively and how to set buildings on fire). Trainers in these training seminars and camps are almost exclusively American, Canadian or British. Russian TV did some stories on these secret seminars held oftentimes in an inconspicuous Polish neighborhood. They obtained the lists of instructors with clearly English-sounding names. When they tried to film the inside through the window or glass door, the curtains would be drawn immediately or the door barricaded – all that caught on film.
As some of you may recall, just recently Poland was also implicated in the secret CIA prison and illegal torture scandal. CIA kidnapped people by thousands and shipped them to Polish secret prisons, where US torture laws didn’t apply, in violation, I might add, of the EU laws.
As a result of this massive subversion of Ukraine, the old spites have been brought out of the woodwork and spun in the media to suit agendas alien to simple Ukrainians. Most of these spites belonged to the western-Ukraine nazis, humiliated as a result of their defeat in WWII together with Hitler; others were the old spites of Poland or Lithuania whose past imperial ambitions were defeated more than once by Russia. These irrelevant spites were imposed on the rest of Ukraine.
It is clear that $5 billion Victoria Nuland was bragging about that US spent ‘to subvert Ukraine,’ wasn’t all they spent over the years. They had to pay off the sell-out journalists, fiction ‘history’ book creators, politicians, and let’s not forget the equipping, training and financing the ukro-nazis from western Ukraine.
The West also had to feed the greediest of them all: Ukraine oligarchs who have been controlling and strangling the poor Ukraine since 1991. Poroshenko – real name Valtsman – is one of them. Valtsman Sr., the father of the Ukraine president, was an underground millionaire and crook from Odessa, who served several years in jail for stealing goods by the trainload during Soviet times. Greed runs in the family.
Incidentally, Ukraine’s president Poroshenko is one of the oligarchs controlling the media. He famously said that he would never sell the Channel 5 he owns. Here is the fact he doesn’t even try to hide: through his Channel 5 he had been influencing the public opinion during the 2004 Orange Revolution, throughout the 2014 Maidan and subsequent presidential election. So do a handful of other oligarchs controlling the country.
The scale of the lies of the Ukraine media can only be compared to the German Nazi propaganda. Some believe they have gone much further. As much as the Western MSM propaganda is mind-boggling, Ukraine today takes the cake. Russians are constantly accused of invasion, despite the fact that to this day, not a shred of evidence, nor a single picture, footage, or any other conclusive document has been presented. Ukraine MSM routinely lies, showing the Donbass self-defense, consisting of local citizens and volunteers from other countries, including Serbia, France and Spain, and calling it Russian troops. Kiev MSM routinely lies that the Donbass self-defense has shot at local citizens (their own families, in other words) and blew up their own houses. With that, the footage shown would be that of the destruction caused by the Ukraine army shelling. According to the Kiev media, the mass graves found in Donbass occurred because those people killed themselves with their hands tied behind their backs, then neatly dug out graves and buried themselves. Why hasn’t Himmler thought of this! Yeah, I forgot, Himmler was a bit smarter than that.
Meanwhile, Ukraine army openly hired well-paid mercenaries, including those from Poland, Georgia, Romania, Sweden, and other Western countries. Some of these mercenaries bombed innocent civilians in Donbass. Per reports, various US advisors still work by thousands in Ukraine.
At the same time, Ukrainians started officially referring to Russians as ‘Moskali’ – derogatory ‘from Moscow.’ By that logic, citizens of Siberia are also from Moscow. This is a direct attempt to incite hatred. This is also done to diminish anyone who is Russian – after all, Moscow is rather small compared to the entire Russian territory.
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ESR3 published in April, 2015
ESR2 first published in Febr. 2014; expanded and updated in Febr. 2016
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PUTIN & RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS
THE CRUCIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RUSSIAN & UKRAINE OLIGARCHS
Russia went through the oligarch infestation and wars in the 1990s. I worked at Smith Barney as financial consultant at the time and I managed some of the Russian oligarch assets; therefore, I am quite familiar with the Russian oligarch class. I described some of the oligarchs and their modus operandi in my two novels, GOLD TRAIN and THE EARTH SHIFTER.
Yeltsin was under the oligarch influence. Being a complete child when it came to economy and finance, he had no idea that the oligarchs, together with their Western handlers, were leading the country into abyss.
Although it is not the focus of this report, it must be noted that many, although not all, Russian oligarchs (and of course, Ukrainian too) served as agents for the Western shadow interests. The name of the Rothschilds is usually mentioned in relation to Khodorkovsky. Some acted on behalf of Western conglomerates, such as Exxon, Shell and others. That said, I strongly suspect that some of the former Russian oligarchs weren’t fronting Western oligarchs at all. In fact, they were direct assets of the CIA, Mossad or MI6. One such example is Jewish-Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who had Yeltsin’s ear. Throughout the ’90s there was no bigger name and bigger oligarch in Russia than Boris Berezovsky, until Putin got on his case.
After that Beresovsky quickly fled to London. He was an agent of MI6 and CIA, and possibly of Mossad as well. Berezovsky’s story is very remarkable. A couple of years ago, he wrote a secret letter to Putin, begging for pardon and for the possibility of returning back home to Russia. According to many witnesses, in his later years, he missed his homeland terribly, always asking for treats to be brought to him from Russia and greedily listening to the Russian news. The letter was sent with a trusted messenger and Putin got it. Berezovsky could tell a lot of things, including how and by whom the wholesale looting of Russia was organized in the ‘90s. Shortly after, Berezovsky suddenly ‘hung’ himself in his London mansion.
This wasn’t the original story. Originally, the UK authorities were supposed to blame Putin and Russians for Berezovsky’s death, just as it happened a few years prior with ex-KGB Litvinenko. Russian authorities got the wind of what was to come and quickly produced Berezovsky’s letter to Putin, in which he was asking for pardon and return home in exchange for spilling the beans on his handlers. Then, the hastily put together ‘self-hanging’ theory emerged, despite strange bruises on Berezovsky’s neck.
After Putin came to power in 2000, the status quo in Russia changed. It shifted gradually, but Putin let everyone know that he would not allow the wholesale looting of Russia any more. Putin slowly but surely restructured tax laws, making oligarchs and foreign oil interests pay taxes – something that, amazingly, Yeltsin and his sold-out advisors were unable to figure out for 8 years in power!
Those who didn’t want to play ball went to jail, like Khodorkovsky. Others, like Berezovsky, fled the country, taking their assets with them. The Western howling was deafening for years, accusing Russia of the roll-back of democracy and a return to dictatorship. Of course by then I left Smith Barney and generally US corporate world, having understood what was happening and having been disgusted with all that I discovered.
Russian oligarchs were losing power and influence in Russia throughout 2000s. Khodorkovsky was in jail on official charges of money laundering and tax evasion (all true), but in reality, for trying to execute a coup d’état and for attempting to sell the country to the US. (Incidentally, I write about that in THE EARTH SHIFTER; oligarch Konukovksy in the book is modeled after Khodorkovsky). The last oligarch who attempted to obtain the power in the country officially, via presidential elections, was Mikhail Prokhorov in 2012. One of Russia’s richest men, he ran against Putin. Prokhorov got a surprise almost 8%. Putin got almost 64%.
After winning, Putin invited all former presidential candidates who ran against him, aka, leaders of opposition parties, to his Kremlin office and consulted with them on various matters, making sure their voices were heard. This was basically the end of Prokhorov’s political ambitions. I think Prokhorov isn’t dumb. Hopefully, he understood he had no chance against such man.
I usually say that the class of oligarchs ceased to exist in Russia in 2013, but it may have happened as early as 2012, after Prokhorov’s failed bid. Presently, Russia has plenty of rich people and lots of business people. The business class is quite active and there are lots of those who have made their fortunes by building their business from scratch through their own wit and hard work, after the roaring ’90s.
Prokhorov isn’t one of them. He is the owner of Norilsk Nickel, which was the giant Soviet-built enterprise and the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium. Norilsk Nickel was one of the victims of the ’90s privatization, having been given away literally for free. Prokhorov also owns gold-producing companies. All that he acquired on the cheap during the 1990s wholesale robbery of the country, when prized Soviet properties were sold for pennies. That said, Prokhorov has proven to be a very good manager, and responsible owner. He pays his taxes and conducts his business transparently.
Here is Putin’s plan that is now bearing fruit: oligarchs who acquired their properties that way, but who proved later that they managed them well, cared about their workers, paid taxes, didn’t launder money, conducted honest business and didn’t try to undermine existing authorities, could continue owning what they had, as long as they invested into the country.
I foresee additional change coming soon. Some are proposing a one-time, retroactive tax on assets acquired during the ‘90s for an unfairly low price. These former oligarchs may be required to pay a fee of varying amount.
I like this idea. My advice to Russians to do it this way:
This retroactive tax must be calculated based on a variety of factors, including the fair and prevailing global asset value at the time of purchase, how much the asset has been developed since, how much out-of-pocket money has been invested to develop such asset, and how much more profitable a plant or company may have become. If a person invested a lot of their own money, hired additional employees and expanded the company, they may not owe anything. Many Russian business people expanded and modernized their Soviet inheritance and made it pay.
If they just sat on their acquisition, doing nothing with it and simply milking the original Soviet asset, they should owe a lot, with interest. Some may have to sell their company or give it back to the Russian State, to repay what they owe. I can tell you that this proposed new tax could do wonders for the Russian business class investing in their companies to avoid paying tax, therefore boosting Russian productivity and GDP! I hope this tax is enacted soon.
Oligarch Roman Abramovich, Governor of Chukotka
Roman Abramovich is a great example of how Putin got some of the oligarchs to invest back into the State. Abramovich is one of those who got filthy rich on the unfair ’90s privatization. He was a Berezovsky crony. But later, there was a falling out. Not only that, Abramovich apparently grabbed some of Berezovsky’s assets when the latter fell out of favor, for which Berezovsky sued Abramovich in London court.
One thing Abramovich did much better than Berezovsky was to work with others and achieve a compromise. Putin told him: fine, you can keep your assets, which you manage pretty well, but under one condition. You become the governor of Chukotka. Historically, in Russia wealthy people gave back to the country by serving the State and helping locals.
The Chukotka peninsula is one of the easternmost Russian territories, which has been neglected for the past 25 years. There is no ready access to oil or gas there, with a lot of pristine wilderness. The population is rather small and climate is very harsh, therefore developing infrastructure is very expensive. Consequently, there was no interest in developing it, like for instance, on the nearby Island of Sakhalin.
If you ask me, it’s actually a great idea to preserve some pristine corners of the globe, unspoiled by humans. But locals do demand modern conveniences.
Abramovich had to demonstrate his worth as a governor to earn his ‘pardon,’ so to speak. During his tenure Abramovich invested his own money into building roads, renovating the city and building hospitals, schools and new companies in order to give locals steady employment. There was a situation when Abramovich had to pay regional salaries out of pocket and he had to shell out to fix housing too. Basically, the region was fixed up using his own money. After several years as Chukotka governor, locals started talking about naming one of their streets, or even a town, after Abramovich as a thank you. This was what Putin wanted to hear – Abramovich did a good job; he earned his pardon.
When Medvedev became president, Abramovich appealed to him to be ‘let go.’ Medvedev at first said he was still needed for the second term as governor since he was doing so well, but I think after some consultations with Putin, he did let him go. After that, Abramovich moved to London, preserving his money and the good will of the Russian government.
This is a very good example of how Putin put the oligarchs, their business skills and their money to work for the good of the State and society. He didn’t fight with them, he didn’t take their assets and money away (except for Khodorkovsky and a few others, who committed direct treason). These drastic measures would have been disruptive for the economy and would have created an even bigger backlash against Russia in the West.
Instead, Putin made the oligarchs serve the country they once robbed.
Another example of how he did it was Sochi. Putin compelled practically all biggest Russian oligarchs to invest in the Sochi 2014 Winter Games: from building hotels and sports venues to financing high-speed railroad, trains, new port and train station. This is who paid for a chunk of the $50bln invested. As is well-known, most Olympics don’t pay for themselves since many venues don’t find enough usage after the Olympics are over. If Sochi doesn’t pay for itself, a lot of it will be the former oligarchs’ loss. If it does – good for them, they will make profit.
Ukraine oligarchs are very different. They never invested in anything, just demanding more and more eggs from the golden goose they stole from the people. As a result, they killed that golden goose.
Certainly, in the case of Russia we also have a president who isn’t only intelligent and balanced, but who is also a wise leader of a sovereign country, who cares a lot for the well-being of his people and land. It is no accident that US, France and some other countries, have a movement, “Putin for President.” They want to borrow Putin for their respective countries. It is also no accident that Putin has recently topped the TIME 100 Readers’ Poll, leaving any competition far behind. More here: Vladimir Putin Steals the Show in TIME 100 Readers’ Poll.
Meanwhile, in Ukraine we have a regime that consists of foreign marionettes, bandits and fascists. At best they are incompetent, at worst – simply insane. For the past 24 years, Ukraine has been under oligarch/raider/mafia control. In addition to that, it is now under the control of the violent and greedy fascist gangs. As if all that wasn’t enough, Ukraine is firmly under foreign management.
Tragically, Ukraine has no possibility of resolving any oligarch-related problems under such circumstances. The euro-maidan slogans were ‘away with oligarchs.’ Instead, they got one of the biggest oligarchs of them all – Poroshenko – as their president.
Ukraine oligarchs finally understood that they were also losing from the war with Donbass and standoff with Russia. At least some of the oligarchs, whose assets are threatened and whose power is dwindling, wouldn’t mind the end of war in Donbass. They may be even trying to pressure Poroshenko to keep peace and agree to federalization. Poroshenko may even be interested in that himself.
But there are two other forces in Ukraine: 1. ukro-nazis and their armed battalions that are ready to go to Kiev and start another maidan; 2. US, whose interest is to keep as much turmoil and disorder in Ukraine as possible for as long as possible.
It is a further tragedy of Ukraine that oligarchs themselves have created the monster, inviting and encouraging these dark forces. Karma is a bitch – oligarchs can’t win against those two forces. Therefore, however you look at it, the fights between all factions will continue until… all these ugly and dark forces are booted out of Ukraine by a popular uprising.
The rich Soviet inheritance isn’t the only thing that has ended in Ukraine. For years, the oligarchs and the rest of Ukrainians lived off leaching the Russian transit gas to the EU, which they stole from the pipes. Ukraine also lived better than economically predetermined because of the heavy discount on Russian gas it received for years as another left over vestige of the Soviet system, when Russians often robbed themselves to give to the republics. But all of it ended with the advent of euro-maidan and war on all fronts against Russia. Gas price is up and Russian loans no more. As a result, Ukraine is facing total collapse.
Ukraine in this state can only be unified if there is war. During active war in Donbass the oligarchs all seemed united in their hatred against Donbass and Russia. The shift in priorities occurred once the shaky peace process was established. Russia insisted on peace negotiations because Donbass was in desperate need of reprieve for its citizens. But apart from that, the brilliance of the Russian insistence on peace process was that the moment peace started spiders started devouring each other.
In truth though, the country is so filled with energy of anger, confusion and confrontation that this destructive energy has to be directed against someone. If it’s not directed against Donbass, it has to be directed against other forces. The problem is that with very weak central government and almost non-existed legal system, including inadequate private property protection laws, it becomes extremely destructive.
Oligarchs are used to easy money they stole during the ’90s privatization robbery and through later re-distributions of property. Now, with the dying economy, they are staring into abyss. They are losing assets and their cash flow is catastrophically drying up. Bankruptcy is looming.”
“Pictures – top to bottom, left to right:
1. No comment: Putin as Bad-Good Santa for naughty and nice children, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Roman Abramovich.
2. Khodorkovsky during trial.
3. Putin receiving Abramovich – notice their body language!
4. Roman Abramovich as governor of Chukotka, with indigenous Chukchas.
5. Abramovich being congratulated by David Beckham for Russia winning World Cup 2018 (Abramovich was an active part of the Russian bid – another way Putin used oligarch influence for good).
6. Swimming in excess money, Russian oligarchs jumped on ownership of prestigious Western sports clubs. For example, Mikhail Prokhorov bought New York basketball club Brooklyn Nets. Roman Abramovich is the owner of the British football club Chelsea. From left to right: Chelsea and Abramovich celebrate winning a trophy; anti-Abramovich protest by ukro-nazis in the UK; the oligarch scandal – Boris Berezovsky sues Abramovich in the UK court with similar accusations as ukro-nazis to the left. Berezovsky accused Abramovich in taking his part of the joint business and in being Putin’s lackey, to put it simply. UK court didn’t find substantiated evidence confirming Berezovsky’s complaint. Shortly after, Berezovsky secretly wrote to Putin asking for pardon in exchange for juicy intel against his US/UK bosses. After that, Berezovsky ‘committed suicide’ in his London home. This unlikely verdict was given by London police despite suspicious bruises on his neck.”
There are more pictures inside the report. Some new, fresh ones have just been added!
For the full picture on Russian and Ukraine oligarchs, Putin, Poroshenko, Kolomoysky, and what wizard behind the curtain is really pulling the strings, read
Earth Shift Report 3 OLIGARCH WARS
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