This is a follow-up to Lada Ray’s latest article Why St. Petersburg Metro Bombing Coincided with Putin – Lukashenko St. Pete Talks.
In it we discussed the St. Petersburg bombing, how it’s linked to the preceding ‘anti-corruption’ protests in Russia and Belarus, Dmitry Medvedev, Lukashenko’s blunders, and Putin-Lukashenko meeting in St. Pete.
Today, FT contributor Nemo (Stanislav Sokolov) is offering us a very telling glimpse into what was happening in Russia during the ’90s, before Putin came to power. This is a must know in order to put contemporary events into proper perspective.
Tomorrow’ I’ll offer you a third article of this cycle, in which I’ll tell you more about Russian anti-corruption protests and the truth behind them!
After the events in Moscow, when kids were abused by the “opposition” and the overall anti-Russian/anti-Putin rhetoric, I got angry – it hit too close to home. I published now a new article: The ”Wild 90s” in Russia, as reflected in people’s memory. Part 2.
Which is part my take on the events, part my own recollection from the 90s, and part translations of people’s testimonials. You are welcome to use the materials in it if you are going to write an article about the recent unrest in Belorussia and Russia.
All the best,
With his kind permission, I am offering you Stanislav Sokolov’s article about Russia’s Wild ’90s, and how Vladimir Putin changed that!
Two years ago I published an article The ”Wild 90s” in Russia, as reflected in people’s memory, where I translated one testimonial of a survivor of the Yeltsin’s Wild 90’s in Russia. Such survivors are many, yet many more perished – in Russia more people died during Yeltsin than during WWII. In that article I also detailed Yeltsin’s coup d’etat of November 1993.
Now, a few days ago, the ignominious Navalny organised an “anti-corruption” rally in Moscow and several of Russia’s cities. I am not going to go into the details of how only 8000 people out of the 12 million population of Moscow was seen at this colour revolution attempt. I will not go into details of how Navalny turned to the political paedophilia, luring school-aged kids onto the streets with the promise of paying them €10000 if they manage to get arrested, and how the “political speeches” of said kids said that they want to buy sneakers. The use of kids seems to be in the instruction book of any colour revolt worth its name (see “protests” against Charles de Gaulle). I will not go into the details of how Navalny – a jobless man – manages to own expensive car, finance organisation of revolts and produce Hollywood-class films, and why this corruption fighter has several criminal corruption cases over him regarding illegal forest deals.
What I want to go into detail about, is the main chant of Navalny and co., of all the anti-Russian, Russophobic traitors organising such revolts: “Putin must go”. That’s all of their agenda. They say absolutely nothing about how Russia should be governed or about the future. At best they position themselves as the next presidents and say a few abstract words about how there’ll be no corruption and everyone will be equal. Aha! The same manifestos were proclaimed in 1917. And in 1991.
And this is what I am coming towards. All the Navalny-class “liberals” are aiming to bring Russia to the condition of the Yeltsin’s 1993-1999 era. The Desolation of Yeltsin as I like to call it, referring to the Desolation of Smaug.
By 1999 the “progress and democracy” in Russia reached such levels that the population was dying out from hunger, military and statehood all but destroyed. Foreign NATO-sponsored Islamic insurgency in Chechenia was at its peak. Here is a link to an article from Lenta.ru from 29.09.1999 with the telling title “Russia begs USA for a little more food”. Sad and detrimental, yet it fully reflects the reality of those days.
My family and I were touched by those events before we emigrated in 1993. I remember well how I had to stand at the entrance to a market, selling toys, books, plastic bags (yes, the Western plastic bags, if you could get your hands on them, were worth a few kopeks), various small items from home – anything, just to get some money so as to buy food and set something aside for the vague plans for the future. We were a middle-class family, my grandfather forked in the 50s at the Far East, where the Soviet government paid the so-called “Northern money”, so were well-off, until 1992, when the whole country and its population got robbed over night. By the likes of Berezovskij, Yeltsin, Kuchma, Nemtsov, Khodorkovskij, Navalny, Kudrin, Yavlinskij and other “communists” cum “oligarchs” and “democrats”.
The upper right corner in the image below illustrates what it was like from my point of view, selling your last things.
Do you remember the 90s? All of the “civilised West” are our friends, while USA is the best pal.
Below I want to translate testimonials from several people of that time, as they recall it now, warning the youth of today not to repeat the same naïve mistake as the one that brought chaos on their own heads.
The first collection of testimonials starts as an open, public domain letter, titled “Anyone, who remembers well what happened in the 90s, should be grateful to this man…”, and it originally appeared at LiveJournal here.
I turned 17 in 1991.
All the trash that is now criticizing Putin was in power back then.
I don’t remember anything good of what they did. I remember how they destroyed my country, I remember how people were not paid wages for years, how a professor of nuclear physics worked with me and cleaned animal skins with a scythe, how my mother, having worked for 23 years as a head nurse of the paediatric intensive care unit and revived many a dozen children, became a “shuttle trader”. (Translator note for the Westerners: people went to China or West and bought some cheap goods, smuggled them and tried to make a living reselling)
I remember the gangs of bastards, collecting tributes, even from old ladies selling sunflower seeds. (Translator note: market gangs, the utmost dregs of society. Berezovskij came from that “environments”.) I remember how kidnapping for ransom in my city of Nalchik was turned into an industry, and how the filth that did that was considered respectable people.
I remember how happily Americans were let into the most secret military facilities, how for their sake aircraft, missiles, submarines and other achievements of my homeland were cut to pieces.
I remember the poor old people begging. I remember the downtrodden Afghan war veterans, who were mutilated in battles, served the orders of their Motherland, are now spat upon by today’s “liberasts” (Translator note: common in today’s Russia folk by-name, combining the words for “liberal” and “homosexual”).
Shall I continue???
I also remember how, two weeks after Putin came to power, the kidnappings stopped. I remember how the Chechens, whom I personally always respected, from the enemies of Russia were reborn into her faithful warriors.
I see how my country began again to build gas pipelines, aircraft, ships and so on. I see how my sons, like I in my childhood, become proud of their country. Everything is relative.
Hence is the question: How can “liberasts”, who sold their Homeland, have the audaciousness to blather all sorts of nonsense about Putin? What have they left after themselves to him, to bark that “Putin ruined” something?
It is, first and foremost, their fault in what is going on in Ukraine today, it is they, who have created this situation in 1991. Nemtsov and his ilk… there must be no monuments to them, least of all in the centre of Moscow. (Translator note: “Liberals” push for that after the Western sacrificial murder of Nemtsov in Moscow). They need to be burned and the ashes scattered to the wind.
Appeal to the young people: do NOT believe the “liberatst”, don’t look up at the “stars” (what a retarded term), like Ksenia Sobchak, do not take the example from prostitutes and bastards. They are all lying.
We are the greatest country in the world. Ask how many achievements ranging from military exploits and to science, sports, and everything else, belongs to our compatriots.
Do not let those, whom we taught to wash, teach us culture. (Translator note to the Westerners: Russian Anna Yaroslavna (born in 1024), when she became the Queen of France, brought with her the tradition of frequent washing – banja, which is common in Russia, yet was viewed as strange in the then W.Europe., as well as introducing at the French Court the custom of eating with silverware, of reading, and many other civilisational traits.)
Don’t let those who begot fascism, the Inquisition, and other atrocities, teach us the love of mankind. Those who marry perverts in the Churches, teach us human values.
We are Russia, and our path is different from theirs.”
© Authorship lost, anyone who survived during the restructuring can subscribe to this…
Comments from the post with additional testimonials:
Tatiana Potapova: “I, too, remember the gangs of bastards who held the markets in fear. Snickering masters of life. And I also remember homeless children, lousy, dirty, hungry, who raided the trading rows of the markets and would grab from the shelves anything edible. I pushed food into their hands. There were so many of them! The officials were not interested in their fate. Where they lived? If they had parents? Nobody picked them off the streets and into boarding schools for approximately ten years. Since Putin came to power, children were rounded up and sent to the boarding schools. Now, those officials who ruthlessly robbed the people and as a result small children ended up on the street, hungry, unwashed, not having seen any kindergartens or schools… now these officials hate Putin and call him a thief… They project their sin onto Putin. Probably because they can get neither sleep nor rest.”
Olga Malinova: “I remember the 90s. My brother and I wanted to eat one day, went to the kitchen, found only the millet and vegetable oil. We pulled our last few rubles, and spent them on a loaf of bread.”
Valery Vishnyakov: “We borrowed money from the neighbours for a half of a black bread. And our father was an oil industry worker. He was just not paid the money. I used to give my food to the younger brother. Parents still do not know about that… Give us back Stalin. The iron curtain. The Soviet Union…”
Liliya Karimova: “I Remember how bad it was. I went to the post office for aid money, but the money were not transferred for more than six months. Used to come home crying not knowing what to cook, it was good that the collective farm gave grain that we would bring to the mill – at least we got bread, and had our own cow, otherwise I would have died of hunger. Writing this now and crying.”
Maria Glova: “I was unable to go after the school to Institute, as parents – doctors – had their wages delayed and they were afraid that I would not be able to find food in another city. In those days we lived off the garden, planted potatoes, ploughed field 5 days in a week and spent 2 days in the garden.”
Eketerina Yasakova: “And I remember only too well the 90s. Terrible years. My children then were just toddlers”
The second testimonial article is titled “The answer to those, who say they live badly in Putin’s Russia”. This material is much more down to earth, gritty and grim, like the years it describes.
Subtext: “How I was surviving in the ’90s, in Russia without Putin”
A young man in his 20s wrote to me from his iPhone from Russia about how his life sucks “under Putin”. I briefly described to him how I lived without Putin in the late 90s.
I will write this again, maybe it will come in handy to someone from Ukraine.
Woke up, thank God that I’m alive. Had breakfast, tea with jam from my grandmother. That’s all the food. There is nothing more to eat.
Later in the morning.
There is no work, the factory was bankrupted by Nemtsovs-Kasyanov and other f*ing privatizers, nothing to do… But the tea, even with jam is not food. It is necessary to find food. Mobiles did not yet exist, so I go to a friend who is in the same position, but worse, because he has a wife and a son. What are we going to do, where to look for food? Decided to go fishing.
Morning, closer to dinner.
Threw in the net from a boat probably constructed during Lenin’s time. Waited. While waiting, caught some frogs, made a campfire, roasted frog legs, ate them. Wanted to smoke, but have no money… walked down the street, collecting the “butts”, nearby others like us harvested, started swearing at us, saying that’s not our territory. We calm them down. Will not go into details of how… you survive however you can.
Rummaged through all of the waste dumps already, not a single thread of metal left. (Translator’s note: People scavenged any metal and sold it to collectors. Pipes, machinery, anything got melted. The same process is going in Ukraine now. If anyone wants a glorified fictitious parallel, think Rey from Star Wars, The Force Awakens.) Telling my friend – let’s go to the village nearby. We went. Knocked at the first house. Explained why we came to a grandmother, age 80. We collect metal, if you have any, we can help to dig up the garden lot as the payment of it… Grandmother asked to plough up 3 acres, flooded in the spring. We did that. Plus I, as a radio hobbyist, repaired antenna on her TV. She gave us 8 kilogrammes of aluminium pans, and even money!!!
For the money we immediately bought a pack of cigarettes and 2 Snickers. We ate the Snickers right away, to at least have some strength, had a smoke and went to deliver metal to the collectors. Delivered, got a few kopecks… But at least that’s something. Went to the nets.
Afternoon snack time.
Came to nets, and there see some blokes pulling them out and taking our fish. Without hesitation, we beat them up very very seriously, although we knew that they are in the same situation as us. But to steal at the time of hunger from your own people is worse than being a liberal! Took out fish and went home.
Gave part of the fish to the wives, carried the other part to the market. Sold for a penny, but at least that’s something. Bought pasta and sugar. Brought that home. Bought for the remaining money 0.5l of homebrew from a local hag.
Late in the evening.
Sitting at the porch, drinking, smoking and looking to a brighter future. A radio of Chinese make says: An unknown to anyone Vladimir Putin may possibly become a temporary figure after the ailing Boris Yeltsin…
So, young people of 20-30 years. If your life is shitty in Russia, under Putin, look at Ukraine now, or at my personal experience of survival in the ’90s. Although, all the same, you’ll learn nothing.
Sincerely, Pavel Smirnov.
Putin’s promise in 2000: “I shall be with the Army, I shall be with the Fleet, I shall be with the people. And together we shall rebuild the Army, the Fleet and the Country.” And he didn’t lie. Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich.
Lada Ray’s Afterword
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Yury Grabovsky (right) at trial, Alexander Alexandrov behind him
(I could, but I deliberately won’t publish a photo of the murderer Nadezhda Savchenko. Don’t want to sally my blog with such filth.)
Below is a video of the young wives of the Russian officers Erofeev and Alexandrov saying how hard it was for them to live through their husbands’ capture and sadistic trial, in which they were denied any semblance of normal defense and were constantly intimidated. But, the women say, they always knew their loved ones wouldn’t be abandoned by the country. As we see from the Grabovsky story, there was a very legitimate reason to fear for the men’s lives, should they remain in Ukraine.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the mother and sister of the two slain Russian journalists, who are dead because of Savchenko, asked to release her for humanitarian reasons in order to exchange her for Erofeev and Alexandrov. Peskov said that the request from the two women came in March 2016.
Here is Peskov’s announcement (Russian).
Video of Vladimir Putin meeting with two women, relatives of slain Russian journalists (Marianna Voloshina and Ekaterina Kornelyuk). Putin thanks them for their humanitarian position and hopes that this gesture of good will will help peace in Donbass.
Путин встреча с Марианной Волошиной и Екатериной Корнелюк 25 мая 2016 года.
How Russians feel about Savchenko and her pardon
There are many voices saying Russia should have made Savchenko serve the entire term and that pardoning her and sending her back is like announcing an open season for kidnapping or killing Russians in Ukraine and DNR/LNR. Such people think that this would only encourage more crimes by ukro-nazis. There is some logic to that. Others say Savchenko should have been exchanged for as many people as possible, perhaps, for all political prisoners Kiev has in prisons, and then some.
Presently, there are many unhappy people, who do not accept that Savchenko was let go that easily; people are indignant at how she behaved in court and the fact that she made an open mockery of the court, her sentence and crime.
This mockery was parroted and multiplied in Ukraine, EU and Anglo-American countries. Russians are absolutely outraged at how the West behaves in this matter, as well as others (which we will discuss in the following articles).
Many Russians are now convinced USA and NATO want to start nuclear World War III – and US and EU have no one to blame for it but themselves!
THE REAL REASON SAVCHENKO WAS RELEASED
I’ll give you my view of why Savchenko was pardoned and released.
Savchenko = bargaining chip
Firstly, I believe that she was from the start perceived by Russian leadership as a bargaining chip. She was taken prisoner, tried and convicted, while the hysteria in Ukraine and West around her intensified. While unpleasant, I believe that Russians wanted this hysteria to take place, for one purpose: to hype up her value as a bargaining chip.
There were constant screams from Ukraine and West: ‘free Nadezhda Savchenko.’ Savchenko kept announcing her fake ‘dry hunger strikes,’ which no one believed. After a dry hunger strike a person can’t even stand on one’s feet, while she was jumping up and down during trial and screaming out obscenities. Yulia Timoshenko tried to capitalize on Savchenko’s fame by nominating her to Ukraine Rada from her party. While remaining in Russian jail, Savchenko, bypassing any imaginable laws, suddenly became a Rada deputy. I believe Savchenko was also ‘elected’ in absentia to Europarliament (illegally, of course).
It appears the Rada isn’t a zoo enough – Savchenko will definitely enhance its ‘Lord of the Flies’ look. Europarliament is right behind the Ukraine Rada in that.
All the above hype made Savchenko – nothing in real life – a very valuable bargaining chip.
Poroshenko vs Timoshenko
One of the things many overlook is that Poroshenko is mortally afraid of Savchenko returning to Kiev in her present capacity as a perceived victor. With her loud and black mouth, plus no brains to speak of, she may become someone who may damage Poroshenko’s reputation and wreak havoc in the Rada. She may cause havoc in Europarliament, as well.
Poroshenko is afraid that she will be used to rival him. Yulia Timoshenko will do everything to wind her up and set her loose on her rival. Timoshenko is licking her lips at the presidential post, dreaming about unseating Poroshenko. One possibility: she can announce her candidacy together with Savchenko. Considering how stupid and deranged Savchenko is, it’ll be nice to see these spiders in a jar devouring each other.
Basically, they all do what US ambassador, Nuland and Biden say. I described how it all works in ESR3: OLIGARCH WARS. Incidentally, US ambassador Payet, who orchestrated Kiev maidan and 2014 coup together with Nuland, is out, replaced with another colonial ruler. But it’s still the same drill. That said, it’s getting really hard for the US to keep all these spiders in Ukrainian jar under control. Soon, it will prove impossible.
If Savchenko remained in Russian jail
Another thing to keep in mind about Savchenko is that for the duration of her being in a Russian jail she would be creating anti-Russian propaganda ops all around her persona by constantly going on fake hunger strikes and yelling and screaming for Western audiences how she is being mistreated.
Then, there is the issue of her security. It is almost certain that she would have been killed in Russian jail within 1-2 years.
By whom? Either by Ukraine operatives or by CIA, probably working together. Why? Because to them she is a lot more valuable dead than alive. Her dying in Russian jail would be yet another GOLDEN opportunity to vilify Russia and get a new round of sanctions going.
Hermitage Capital, Magnitsky Act and anti-Russian conspiracy
This is not a supposition, but an almost 100% assurance. Do you recall the death in a Russian jail of Sergei Magnitsky? Supposedly, Magnitsky died of a heart attack as a result of not being given proper medical care. However, it is well-known in Russia that a member of medical personnel was bribed (it was an infiltration, actually) not to provide medical care when prisoner needed it, resulting in his death. Magnitsky is presented in the West as a lawyer to Hermitage Capital. This is false: Magnitsky was an accountant, not a lawyer. Here’s why it’s important.
Hermitage Capital was a US/UK investment company that was accused by Russian authorities in money laundering and tax avoidance. Magnitsky was the accountant who was in charge of the cooking of the books.
In reality, Hermitage Capital was the front for subversive conspiracy focused on regime change in Russia. It was curated by MI6 and CIA. The goal was to unseat Putin and sabotage Russian industry, leading to the country’s complete disintegration. The supposed investment company Hermitage worked with a very influential pro-West Russian opposition leader, whom it supplied with money, secret intel and instructions.
In THE EARTH SHIFTER and in ESR3: OLIGARCH WARS I described the high-profile case involving oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his cronies. Khodorkovsky was nailed on charges of money laundering, while the real charge should have been treason. The Hermitage Capital story is another one in the same vein, the difference being that pro-West political oppositioner was used as a pointman, instead of oligarchs.
In OLIGARCH WARS I also mention another oligarch Boris Berezovsky and the failed plot to blame Putin for his sudden death in London. In the Hermitage Capital conspiracy Berezovsky is important. This story is even more convoluted than Khodorkovsky’s. I have the full material on the recently revealed scandal, who blew the whistle and who was implicated. I may have an Earth Shift Report on that soon (stay tuned!).
Long story short, Magnitsky was very dangerous to CIA alive in jail, where he could eventually start talking, but he was very valuable dead. He conveniently and suddenly dies and now we have the Magnitsky Act.
Wikipedia tells us what it is: The Magnitsky Act, formally known as the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, is a bipartisan bill passed by the U.S. Congress and President Obama in November–December 2012, intending to punish Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009.
So, If, by some miracle, Ukraine or CIA didn’t get Savchenko in Russian jail, chances are those who suffered from ukro-nazis, battalion Aidar or as a result of Savchenko’s personal actions, would. Frankly, if I were the president of Russia, I wouldn’t want this kind of high maintenance prisoner on my territory. Try her, give her guilty verdict and maximum sentence and then unleash this furious Trojan Horse on Ukraine to undermine it from within – a much better plan.
If she remained, I’d have fully expected Savchenko to die in Russian prison of some mysterious cause, thus triggering US Congress and Europarliament passing ‘the Savchenko Act.’
When she dies in Kiev, it’ll be their problem. In either event, keeping this hysterical and not very bright ukro-nazi alive and happy will be a very big job. Good luck to them – they’ll need it.
You can watch this video by RT: Villain or hero? The many faces of Nadezhda Savchenko. I think the answer to this question is abundantly clear.
In this specific case, she has been exchanged for two Russians, who’d be in grave danger otherwise. This is already a good outcome.
But there is much more going on behind the scenes, and it’ll never be admitted or advertised…
I have been noticing for a period of time that Western investments into Russia have begun accelerating. Recall that I predicted in 2014 that the West would huff and puff for about 2 years after Crimea: sanctions, anti-Russian hysteria, etc. I said in 2014 that it would be just like the 2008 Georgia/S. Ossetia conflict. After 2 years of hysteria, they would begin remembering that they can’t really do much without Russia, such as various peace negotiations as well as business deals and trade relations.
Although Europe seems to be ready to abandon sanctions, US is really standing in the way, stubbornly attempting to prolong sanctions for as long as possible. Obama’s ego is permanently wounded due to his usually looking like a loser compared to Putin. This wounded little ego is one of the reasons.
Considering Obama’s childish pouting and silly resentment of Russia and Putin, an additional push was needed. I am sure that Savchenko’s pardon was used as a bargaining chip in relaxing anti-Russian sanctions. They will keep those sanctions on for a while, probably till the end of year. This has to do, as I said, with Obama’s wounded ego (what do you expect from such little, tiny man). Obama wants to leave office with sanctions intact. Try to save face, count at least this as his ‘victory’…
But what’s impossible to hide is that suddenly more and more European businesses are investing in Crimea and the flow of new Western investments into Russia is substantially up. This, despite sanctions! There is a definite coincidence between Savchenko’s release and sudden blindness of the EU when their businesses break anti-Russian sanctions. This is not to say that it’s all going to be champagne and roses, but I am certain a deal was struck that sanctions would remain in place in name only.
My opinion: this, at least in part, explains frequent recent mystery visits to Russia by Kerry and Nuland (and Kissinger earlier in the year).
Incidentally, this also likely concerns the Nord Stream-2 construction. I would expect an acceleration of this mega-project between Germany and Russia. After Nord Stream-2 is completed, Ukraine will lose its position as the most important transiter of Russian gas to EU. This will make Ukraine un-interesting to the US as a means of blackmailing and inflicting pain on both Russia and EU. As a result, US will release its grip on Ukraine.
As to the concern that Savchenko may return to direct Ukraine artillery strikes on Donetsk and Lugansk.
That would be really stupid of her, and here’s why. First, her face is now too well-known. Should she be captured again, this time she won’t get out alive – there are too many in Donbass who have a score to settle.
Secondly: she is too famous and ‘valuable’ now. Her card will be played by Timoshenko, who won’t let her go to Donbass, if she can help it. I’m sure others will also try to play her card. She’ll be wined, dined and courted. They’ll try to groom and mold her into something. But I think she is so dim and so stupid that she’ll definitely get herself in trouble within 6-7 months, or better yet, she’ll get the whole Kiev junta in trouble.
In short, a pawn such as Savchenko is very useful as a tool and bargaining chip. She doubles as an unpredictable Trojan Horse.
She’s about to fulfill her purpose. I intend to kick back and watch how Poroshenko and Kiev will manage to keep this loose cannon under control. US will have to work overtime, too. This should be quite a show.
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Earth Shift Report 3:
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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
Or go to all EARTH SHIFT REPORTS!
Read my analysis of the history of the Russian oligarchs and their present day evolution. What secret agreement was reached between Putin and the oligarchs behind the closed doors? What does the future hold?
In the past couple of weeks or so, Putin has been lauded by many for a stroke of geopolitical genius that averted Syria war and potential World War III. Today, we are seemingly talking about something unrelated: The Sochi Winter Olympics 2014. Yet again, I can’t help but point out the brilliance of Vladimir Putin and his team, and here’s why.
As those who follow Russia, and those who read my blog and my books would know, in the 1990s Russia experienced a brief and painful period of lawless and predatory capitalism. As a result, the country oftentimes was robbed blind by the emerging class of oligarchs.
When Putin attempted to prosecute some of the oligarchs, including the infamous Boris Berezovsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the West immediately organized Putin and Russia bashing media campaign. As a result, Berezovsky, who stole billions from Russia, was given asylum in the UK, while Khodorkovsky, who laundered out many more billions, ended up in jail. However, because of all the howling, name-calling and economic boycotts of the West, it became too politically and economically costly to directly prosecute the guilty.
That’s where the brilliance and wisdom of Putin and his team comes in. Instead of putting anyone in jail, he basically said: “Fine, we know what you’ve done. We know that not all of your money has been made honestly. However, it’s too costly for the state to prosecute you directly. The government doesn’t want to re-nationalize companies you manage either. On the contrary, we want to reduce government owned assets further, so most large companies in Russia were privately owned for competitiveness’ sake. So, this is what we are going to do. You will redeem yourself to the Russian people by investing back into the country. Show us all that you are good citizens, that you care about our country and its future. Pay back the people you stole from. In return, those of you who conduct their business honestly, who provide employment to citizens and who invest back into the country’s future will have support of the government.”
Before this secret, behind the closed doors deal, the oligarchs were syphoning wealth out of Russia at super-sonic speeds, parking it in offshore havens, including Cyprus, Latvia and the UK. There was absolutely no feeling of patriotism or loyalty to the country on their part. Since then, the trend has reversed itself. Coordinated by the Russian government, a number of new Russian projects are being financed by the oligarchs, including road and airport construction, renovation of cities, building of Skolkovo, the so-called “Russian Silicon Valley” near Moscow, alternative energy, support of the Olympic movement and construction of new stadiums, re-purchasing and bringing back of the Russian art stolen during 1918 Civil War and World War II, to name a few. And of course, most of the Sochi Olympics construction was financed by the Russian oligarchs as well.
For those of us who watch Russia closely and who think independently, none of this has gone unnoticed. These are all very important developments for both Russia and the world. Not surprisingly, the significance of these developments, or even the fact that they have occurred, is completely missed or totally twisted by the Western media and US/UK governments. But that’s their problem. When they wake up and their narrative changes, it will be too late.
For those who are awake and open-minded, I will continue talking about the Russian story on this blog and on my Youtube channel. I predict that this will be the biggest story of this decade, and possibly, beyond, which some will grasp only much later.
The video below is about Russian oligarchs’ investments in Sochi, including new sports complex, ski launch, Olympic village, hotels, new airport, marina, resorts and many other things. The cost of the entire Sochi Olympic project is so far 4 times over budget and is the record-setting $50bln compared to planned $12bln. The question the interviewer asks is whether investors will ever see their money back? It is a very interesting discussion – must watch!
Also, this vid is well worth watching for the beautiful views of Sochi. A lot has changed there since I was there last. Can’t recognize the place!
Also, read/watch my new post with lots of cool pics!