according to what I've read, the problem isn't the law in Russia or some dark conspiracy to suppress the people. The law is pretty clear about their rights.
It's more the case of over-eager local and regional officials, managers of big state companies and so on (cronies who are 'bending the rules' in order to please Moscow.....it's a bad habit from Soviet times, which I think will change over time.
Here's a report in Russian about an investigation by the public prosecutor about violations of the election rules (if I understood it correctly)
Post by CHORNYVOLK on Dec 23, 2007 15:13:51 GMT -5
The man who wants to buy back Russia
By Catherine Belton in Moscow
Published: December 19 2007 22:33 | Last updated: December 19 2007 22:33
Oleg Shvartsman, a fund manager, claims he is a hero of Russiaâ€™s new times. Operating out of an office which shares the same Red Square address as the Kremlinâ€™s property department, he says he wants to lead a â€œvelvet reprivatisationâ€ drive of assets â€œillegallyâ€ won in Russiaâ€™s 1990s privatisations: not just the strategic assets that have already become a target for the state but small and medium enterprises in the regions too.
â€œThese enterprises were built by our fathers and our grandfathers, and all of a sudden in one moment these enterprises became owned by individuals by the decision of one official who was paid cash. This is not just. This is not supported by the people,â€ Mr Shvartsman told the Financial Times.
Russian business daily Kommersant published an interview earlier this month with Mr Shvartsman in which he said he was leading a reprivatisation drive to â€œhoover upâ€ assets via â€œvoluntary-coercive methodsâ€ with the backing of Kremlin officials. Mr Shvartsman became a political bogeyman and a new player in a growing war between Kremlin clans overnight.
He also used the interview to say he was managing some $3.2bn (â‚¬2.2bn, Â£1.6bn) in assets for unnamed â€œpolitical figuresâ€ connected to the Kremlinâ€™s hardline â€œpower blocâ€. Soon after its publication, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Tamir Fishman, an Israeli investment bank, said they were pulling out of plans to create a Russian venture fund in which Mr Shvartsman was to be a minority partner.
In his first interview with the western press, Mr Shvartsman backed off from assertions that his fund was tied to the Kremlin and insisted that Kommersant had â€œdistortedâ€ his words. But he stood by his calls for a state-backed â€œreprivatisationâ€ drive. When pressed over the potential Kremlin ties of the backers of his company, Finans-Group, which has accumulated stakes in strategic industries, he added: â€œWe are not going to check whether [investors] are relatives of administration officials.â€
He added: â€œI have partners who enter either on the condition that they bring money or possibilities.â€
It is difficult to tell whether â€“ as some Russian observers have claimed â€“ Mr Shvartsman is just a pawn in a complex political chess game between Russiaâ€™s warring elite. He says Kommersant portrayed him as a victim of the political infighting that broke out as Russia prepares for a transfer of power next year.
â€œThis is an element of an internal clan battle,â€ he said of the Kommersant interview, which came after the arrest of Sergei Storchak, deputy finance minister, in an alleged embezzlement case widely seen as an attack on more liberal factions by hardliners led by Igor Sechin, Kremlin deputy chief of staff . â€œThe situation has been used to discredit the â€˜powerâ€™ ministries among others and in a certain way they have achieved this . . . I have become a hostage of this situation.â€
But others, including several former senior government officials, say there is a large grain of truth in the Kommersant interview. The newspaper has published documents that show he signed off on every page of the interview, as well as audio files of extracts.
He is representative of a growing political class of mid-level managers working for the state, with ties to the security services, who believe it is time for Russiaâ€™s nascent class of business owners to hand their property back to the state, former government officials said. â€œThis was a manifesto for state raiding,â€ said Alexander Temerko, a former vice-president of Yukos, the defunct oil group once run by jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. â€œThere are a lot of companies like his, and now there are so many of them they are a force.â€
The stateâ€™s attack on Yukos â€“ led by Mr Sechin, who is also chairman of Rosneft, the state-owned energy group that has swallowed most of Yukosâ€™s assets â€“ began the process of using tax charges and other alleged infractions to retake property for the state. Mr Shvartsman says he wants to continue that process on a regional level, only this time with compensation for business owners who sell their shares back to the state.
Businessmen are preparing for the worst. A recent opinion poll by the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Russiaâ€™s big business lobby, found 58 per cent of businessmen questioned believed there should be a partial review of privatisation results. The Communist party this weekend reverted to past calls to overturn 1990s privatisations.
Against that backdrop, Mr Shvartsman intends to announce on Thursday the creation of his own political movement, called For a Transparent Russia.
Vladimir Putin, Russian president, even weighed in unexpectedly to the debate, calling last week for limits on the power of new state corporations to make sure they did not encroach on other enterprises.
But Mr Shvartsman said he was working on contracts with the governmentâ€™s federal property fund to consolidate control of mid-sized businesses that were ignoring the stateâ€™s property rights and paying insufficient tax.
But he denied his company could use law enforcement structures to coerce owners into handing over their holdings. â€œEvery entrepreneur uses the legal system to defend his interests. I am no exception. The only difference is that I act in the interests of the state.â€ He said he was calling on the west not to fear the idea of a â€œvelvet reprivatisationâ€. Western companies would be offered stakes as a way of bringing in much needed technology and expertise once state consolidation was completed, he said.
Mr Shvartsman said a key idea of his business was to support law enforcement organisations and army veterans via donations through a fund known as SSSR, the Union for Social Justice in Russia. Valentin Varennikov, a former army general and member of parliament, is the head of its supervisory council.
But Yevgeny Shakhov, the head of the SSSR, says he has known Mr Shvartsman for years but says he still cannot understand his comments. â€œI donâ€™t know what got into his head,â€ Mr Shakhov said. â€œHe got into politics and then I donâ€™t understand what happened.â€
Post by CHORNYVOLK on Feb 14, 2008 14:32:10 GMT -5
Billionaire's death threatens UK-Russia ties By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent and Caroline Gammell Last Updated: 2:25am GMT 14/02/2008
The death of Badri Patarkatsishvili threatens a new crisis in Anglo-Russian diplomatic relations, already at their lowest ebb since the Cold War after the murder in London of Alexander Litvinenko.
Scotland Yard wants Mr Litvinenko's suspected assassin, Andrei Lugovoi, extradited but Russia has refused.
Tit-for-tat exchanges following his death in 2006 resulted in both countries expelling diplomats and the closure last month of the British Council's centre in St Petersburg after the harassment of officials by Russian police.
advertisementThe Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the former KGB, said it suspected MI6 of using the council as a cover for gathering intelligence and recruiting agents.
Stephen Kinnock, the son of Lord Kinnock, the former Labour leader, and head of the council in St Petersburg, was caught up in the row after being accused of drink-driving.
The accusation was denied by the Foreign Office and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, denounced the "intimidation and harassment of officials" as "unacceptable".
The investigation into the death of Mr Patarkatsishvili remains at an early stage but even speculation that the Russian state could be blamed will fan the diplomatic flames.
The crisis began in 2004 when Britain refused to extradite Boris Berezovsky, a former oligarch and Kremlin critic who fled here three years earlier. Russia demanded that he be sent back to face fraud charges, which he denies. Britain granted him political asylum.
In 2004, Russian police raided the offices of the British Council, claiming that it was involved in illegal commercial activity, namely giving English language lessons on which no tax was paid. After bowing to pressure and registering as a taxpayer, the council paid tax claims for Â£1.4 million in 2005.
Russia reopened the inquiry in January 2006, days after the Federal Security Service claimed to have caught British diplomats spying and financing non-governmental organisations.
Ten months later, tension increased further when Mr Litvinenko, a former FSB agent turned Kremlin critic, made a deathbed accusation that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was responsible for his poisoning with the radioactive isotope polonium 210.
In May 2007, the UK demanded Mr Lugovoi's extradition, naming him chief suspect.
The request was rejected and two months later, Mr Lugovoi told The Daily Telegraph: "I'm very sorry about the fact that I won't be able to buy my shirts on Jermyn Street. I'll also miss going to the football."
Following the refusal, Britain expelled four Russian diplomats and the Kremlin ejected four British officials in response.
Claim and counter-claim continued throughout the late summer and autumn as Russia named a British diplomat who allegedly worked for MI6. British government sources claimed that Russia's espionage operation was at Cold War levels, involving about half the staff accredited to its diplomatic missions.
Last October, the head of the FSB, Nikolai Patrushev, accused MI6 of hatching a plot to "dismember" Russia and claimed that it intended to secure the country's downfall.
"They have claimed credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union and they are now hatching plans aimed at dismembering Russia," he told a newspaper.
The ongoing tension provided an opportunity for Russia's foreign ministry to target the British Council again and demand its closure.
Just before Christmas, Russia cancelled an eagerly-awaited art exhibition scheduled for the Royal Academy in London because of fears that some of the post-Impressionist masterpieces might be confiscated on arrival in Britain.
The works were seized by the state after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and Moscow feared that descendants of the original owners might try to reclaim the paintings. Britain rushed through legislation ensuring the protection of foreign state-owned assets.
"SURRENDER LIFE TO MOTHERLAND, SOUL TO GOD, AND HONOUR TO NOBODY!"
He was probably murdered by MI6, the same as Litvinenko who died in Britain but they like to blame Russia. Russia needs to boycott the Brits and Britain. They are nasty to Serbia too, and have been for a long time. Serbs are fools to think Brits were ever really allies. They pushed some of the most anti-Serb propaganda of all and despite having Albanian sex slavers, violent gangs and armed robbers running around Britain and in the news several times a year they still overall promote "good Albanian/bad Serb" politics.
Post by srbinizargentine on Feb 15, 2008 21:06:42 GMT -5
This Patarkatsishvili character was probably assasinated with the west for several reasons. One he is critical of the scum Sashkavili, two he ran as a candidate in the Georgian elections two months ago and was the loudest person talking of western meddling and election rigging and fraud.
Not only that. But apparently a former Goergian defense minister says the Georgian president was planning on having him assasinated. The president backed by the west.
Russians Suing Bank of New York Claim Is For $22.5 Billion in Money Laundering Case BY JULIE SATOW - Staff Reporter of the Sun April 2, 2008 URL: www2.nysun.com/article/74007
New York's oldest bank could be on the hook for $22.5 billion if the Russian government gets its way. Russia is suing the Bank of New York Mellon under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act for money laundering in Moscow in the 1990s. The case, while potentially a financial disaster for the bank, is also a means for Russia to prosecute a bank that is widely viewed there as a symbol of the chaos and corruption that pervaded the country under President Yeltsin.
The case, one of the first uses of the American RICO statute in a foreign court, comes at a sensitive time for the two countries, as President Bush prepares to voice support for the expansion of the NATO alliance to include Georgia and Ukraine at a summit this week in Bucharest, Romania. Mr. Bush also is expected to meet with President Putin on Sunday in the Russian Black Sea port of Sochi, where
the two leaders will discuss America's planned Central European missile defense system, which Russia opposes.
Following a six-year investigation, the Bank of New York, which was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784, agreed to pay $38 million in fines, among the largest ever assessed against an American bank for money laundering. The bank "has admitted its criminal conduct and will forfeit $26 million to the United States and pay $12 million in restitution to its victims," a Department of Justice statement from 2005 said. The couple pleaded guilty to money laundering and were sentenced to six months' house arrest and ordered to pay $705,000 in fines and compensation.
"The Russians always felt this case was unfair and politically motivated, with just low-level bank employees convicted," the senior international adviser at law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Toby Gati, said. "To the Russians, the Bank of New York scandal became the symbol of a rotten Russian system. This is an opportunity for them to put a period at the end of the 1990s and say never again."
The bank, which last year merged with Pittsburgh-based Mellon Financial Corp., is arguing that the Russians are dressing up a tax case under the RICO statute. It says the plaintiff, Russia's customs service, is trying to collect taxes that were lost when Russian companies laundered the money through Bank of New York accounts.
"This litigation is about customs duties," a spokesman for the bank, Jeep Bryant, said in a statement. "If customs duties are owed, the court should be going after the companies that tried to avoid customs duties nearly a decade ago." According to American law, foreign countries cannot use American courts to collect taxes, so the bank is arguing that if it loses the case in Russia, the Russians would be hard-pressed to collect the award.
"We have strong legal and financial defenses and are well protected," Mr. Bryant added.
For its part, the Russian government is denying that the case is a tax issue.
"It is certainly innovative to apply RICO in a Russian court," the Jean Monnet chair in European Union law at Columbia University, George Bermann, said, adding that he thought it was one of the first times the statute had been applied abroad.
The lawyers representing the Russian government aim to collect the $22.5 billion not just by tapping the bank's assets in America, but also in countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Singapore, where the bank does business and the governments are likely to be more sympathetic.
"We have already identified $22 billion the bank owns in real estate and other assets around the world, and we have hired firms who can get the groundwork laid, so that assuming we win, they can begin immediately enforcing these judgments," a lawyer for the Russian Federation, Steven Marks, said.
The judgment can also be collected from Russia itself; just last week, the Russian government paid $1.2 billion in fees to the Bank of New York for business conducted there, said Mr. Marks, a partner at Florida-based law firm Podhurst Orseck. "It is laughable to say we won't collect the award."
The situation is worrying at least one American banking analyst. The Bank of New York "is acting like this is all just a big political game, but the fact of the matter is, this thing is not going to just go away," an analyst at Punk Ziegel & Co., Richard Bove, said. He downgraded the stock this week on concern over the Russian suit.
"I spoke to officials at Mellon before the merger, and it was not my sense that they had spent much time on this case, that rather they had accepted Bank of New York's explanation without doing much of their own due diligence," Mr. Bove said. If the bank is found liable and forced to pay, "it would have to sell a major portion of the company to pay up."
Even if Russia is not able to collect any of the money, the government believes it will benefit, the director of Russia studies at the American Enterprise Institute, Leon Aron, said. "The idea behind this is to expose a major Western institution as being in cahoots with corrupt Russian officials from the 1990s," he said. "Putin wants to project this image that the giant has wakened, that we are not to be trifled with, and this entails coming after a pillar of the Western financial world." www2.nysun.com/pf.php?id=74007&v=4737327021
"SURRENDER LIFE TO MOTHERLAND, SOUL TO GOD, AND HONOUR TO NOBODY!"
Russia presses for $22.5 billion in damages from Bank of New York Mellon By Andrew E. Kramer
Thursday, July 3, 2008 MOSCOW: The Russian government sought Thursday to make Bank of New York Mellon liable under U.S. racketeering laws for $22.5 billion in damages arising from a money-laundering scandal that helped undermine the Russian economy in the late 1990s.
The appearance of a team of pastel-clad trial lawyers from Miami, representing Russia, capped a long effort to enforce civil liabilities against the bank, which reached a settlement with the U.S. government in the case in 2005.
As the Russian economy struggled in the late 1990s and capital flight became a crippling problem, roughly $7.5 billion was improperly transferred out of the country through Bank of New York accounts to a shell company owned by the husband of a bank employee, Lucy Edwards. Both were later sentenced to five years' probation, and the bank, which admitted lax oversight, agreed to pay $14 million to the United States under the settlement.
In a novel legal theory, the attorneys - working on a contingency fee for the Russian Customs Committee - are seeking to apply the U.S. Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act in a Russian court against the bank, which argues that the statute of limitations for new lawsuits has expired.
One of the attorneys for Russia, Steven Marks of the Podhurst Orseck law firm, argued that a new lawsuit is valid because the bank's settlement in 2005 qualified as a criminal admission of guilt, making it liable for civil damages.
The case, being heard at Basmany Court in Moscow, has attracted the attention of high-profile legal experts. Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law professor, prepared an affidavit in support of the Russian plaintiffs, and a former U.S. attorney general, Richard Thornburgh, prepared one on behalf of the bank.
On Thursday, the court heard testimony from experts on whether it could have jurisdiction under both U.S. and Russian law, and whether the RICO statute could be applied outside of the United States.
"I believe very strongly that in a time of globalization of banking, and globalization of money laundering, it would be a terrible tragedy if RICO laws were confined to the United States border," Dershowitz said by telephone. His affidavit was not accepted by the court because it was filed after a deadline; he did not come to Moscow to testify.
Thornburgh said no foreign court should hear cases under the RICO statute, a 1970s anti-organized-crime law that allows collection of civil penalties for certain criminal acts. "Only U.S. courts can adjudicate RICO," he said in an interview in Moscow.
Bank of New York Mellon also says that the improper wire transfers did not amount to a precursor crime under RICO, and that Russia's claim to damages was not supported by evidence.
The bank says the Basmany Court decision will never be upheld outside of Russia. The same court heard the politically tinged bankruptcy case against the oil company Yukos that ended in the company's dismantlement and drew criticism for alleged judicial irregularities. Still, Dershowitz, arguing for the Russian government agency, said the Bank of New York should observe the court's ruling. "A great bank founded by Alexander Hamilton will not want to be perceived as running away from judgment," he said.
In other legal disputes, officials in Russia, and, indeed, other countries, have objected to applying U.S. law to disputes outside of the United States. Exxon Mobil filed a suit against Venezuela in U.S., British and Dutch courts, and Cuban exiles have turned to U.S. law to enforce their rights against the government of the island.
Bruce Marks, a Philadelphia attorney who had filed RICO claims against the aluminum conglomerate controlled by the Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, testified in court Thursday as a witness for the customs agency. Steven Marks, the lead plaintiff attorney, specializes in major airline crash cases that fall under international law. He had also represented the governments of several South American countries seeking damages from U.S. tobacco companies.
In Russia, Steven Marks was authorized to seek damages on the cigarette claims with a 29 percent contingency fee; that agreement with the Russian customs committee was later extended to the Bank of New York case. Steven Marks says his payment terms are not material to the case.
Post by CHORNYVOLK on Sept 19, 2008 2:09:58 GMT -5
The Oligarchs Or How the Virgin Became a Whore By URI AVNERY
This is a TV series about Russia. But it could have been about Israel. Or about the United States. It is entitled "The Oligarchs" and is now being screened on Israeli television.
Some of its episodes are simply unbelievable--or would have been, if they had not come straight from the horses' mouths: the heroes of the story, who gleefully boast about their despicable exploits. The series was produced by Israeli immigrants from Russia.
The "oligarchs" are a tiny group of entrepreneurs who exploited the disintegration of the Soviet system to loot the treasures of the state and to amass plunder amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. In order to safeguard the perpetuation of their business, they took control of the state. Six out of the seven are Jews.
In popular parlance they are called "oligarchs"--from the Greek word meaning "rule of the few".
In the first years of post-Soviet Russian capitalism they were the bold and nimble ones who knew how to exploit the economic anarchy in order to acquire enormous possessions for a hundredth or a thousandth of their value: oil, natural gas, nickel and other minerals. They used every possible trick, including cheating, bribery and murder. Every one of them had a small private army. In the course of the series they are proud to tell in great detail how they did it.
But the most intriguing part of the series recounts the way they took control of the political apparatus. After a period of fighting each other, they decided that it would be more profitable for them to cooperate in order to take over the state.
At the time, President Boris Yeltsin was in a steep decline. On the eve of the new elections for the presidency, his rating in public opinion polls stood at 4%. He was an alcoholic with a severe heart disease, working about two hours a day. The state was, in practice, ruled by his bodyguard and his daughter; corruption was the order of the day.
The oligarchs decided to take power through him. They had almost unlimited funds, control of all TV channels and most of the other media. They put all these at the disposal of Yeltsin's reelection campaign, denying his opponents even one minute of TV time and pouring huge sums of money into the effort. (The series omits an interesting detail: they secretly brought over the most outstanding American election experts and copywriters, who applied methods previously unknown in Russia.)
The campaign bore fruit: Yeltsin was indeed reelected. On the very same day he had another heart attack and spent the rest of his term in hospital. In practice, the oligarchs ruled Russia. One of them, Boris Berezovsky, appointed himself Prime Minister. There was a minor scandal when it became known that he (like most of the oligarchs) had acquired Israeli citizenship, but he gave up his Israeli passport and everything was in order again.
By the way, Berezovsky boasts that he caused the war in Chechnya, in which tens of thousands have been killed and a whole country devastated. He was interested in the mineral resources and a prospective pipeline there. In order to achieve this he put an end to the peace agreement that gave the country some kind of independence. The oligarchs dismissed and destroyed Alexander Lebed, the popular general who engineered the agreement, and the war has been going on since then.
In the end, there was a reaction: Vladimir Putin, the taciturn and tough ex-KGB operative, assumed power, took control of the media, put one of the oligarchs (Mikhail Khodorkovsky) in prison, caused the others to flee (Berezovsky is in England, Vladimir Gusinsky is in Israel, another, Mikhail Chernoy, is assumed to be hiding here.)
Since all the exploits of the oligarchs occurred in public, there is a danger that the affair might cause an increase in anti-Semitism in Russia. Indeed, the anti-Semites argue that these doings confirm the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a document fabricated by the Russian secret police a century ago, purporting to reveal a Jewish conspiracy to control the world.
Moving from Russia to America--the same thing happened, of course, in the US, but more than a hundred years ago. At the time, the great "robber barons", Morgan, Rockefeller at al., all of them good Christians, used very similar methods to acquire capital and power on a massive scale. Today, it works in far more refined ways.
In the present election campaign, the candidates collect hundreds of millions of dollars. George W. Bush and John Kerry both brag about their talent for raising enormous sums of money. From whom? From pensioners? From the mythical "old lady in tennis shoes"? Of course not, but from the cabals of billionaires, the giant corporations and powerful lobbies (arms dealers, Jewish organiztions, doctors, lawyers and such). Many of them give money to both candidates--just to be on the safe side.
All of these expect, of course, to receive a generous bonus when their candidate is elected. "There is no such thing as a free lunch", as the right-wing economist Milton Friedman wrote. As in Russia, every dollar (or ruble) invested wisely in an election will yield a ten- or hundred-fold return.
The problem is rooted in the fact that presidential candidates (and all other candidates for political office) need ever increasing amounts of money. Elections are mainly fought out on TV and cost huge sums. It is not a coincidence that all the present candidates in the US are multi-millionaires. The Bush family has amassed a fortune from the oil business (helped by its political connections, of course.) Kerry is married to one of the richest women in America, who was once the wife of the ketchup king, Henry John Heinz. Dick Cheney was the chief of a huge corporation that has garnered contracts worth billions in Iraq. John Edwards, candidate for Vice President, has made a fortune as a trial lawyer.
From time to time there is talk in America about reforming election finances, but nothing worthwhile ever comes of it. None of the oligarchs has any interest in changing a system that enables them to buy the government of the United States.
In Israel, too, talk about "Money and Power" is now in vogue. Ariel Sharon and one of his two sons have been suspected of accepting bribes from a real estate magnate. An indictment was blocked by the new Attorney General who happened to be appointed by the Sharon government at the height of the affair. Another investigation into Sharon and his sons is still pending. It concerns millions of dollars that reached his election coffers by roundabout routes, crossing three continents.
Shimon Peres' connections with multi-millionaires are well-known, as are the huge sums poured out by American Jewish multi-millionaires for extreme right-wing causes in Israel. One of the Russian oligarchs is the part-owner of the second biggest Israeli newspaper.
A political scandal concerning the Israeli Minister for Infrastructure has mushroomed into an affair involving giant multi-national corporations competing for contracts for supplying natural gas to the Israeli Electricity Company, an affair of billions in which underworld figures, politicians and private investigators play their parts. This disclosure has made it clear to Israelis that here, too, politicians of the highest rank have long ago been acting as mercenaries for powerful financial interests.
These facts must alarm everybody who cares about democracy--in Israel, Russia, the United States and elsewhere. Oligarchy and democracy are incompatible. As a Russian commentator in the TV series said about the new Russian democracy: "They have turned a virgin into a whore."
Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is one of the writers featured in The Other Israel: Voices of Dissent and Refusal. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's hot new book The Politics of Anti-Semitism. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.counterpunch.org/avnery08032004.html
"SURRENDER LIFE TO MOTHERLAND, SOUL TO GOD, AND HONOUR TO NOBODY!"
Protocols of Elders of Zion were written by a priest, not secret police.
While it is doubtful a Russian Orthodox priest would be able to attend a meeting of jewish elite to record their plans, one needs only to read them, and look at the world around them to realize that the things listed have come to pass.
Nationalism has to be expressed as a style, as a way of life, before it can become an electoral movement.
Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000 vowing to destroy Russia's oligarchs ``as a class.'' Within two years, he'd driven two into exile and imprisoned another. Now, he may use the global markets meltdown to finish the job. The $50 billion that the prime minister and President Dmitry Medvedev have pledged to lend cash-strapped companies will extend state control over business leaders. Billionaires seeking bailouts -- including Oleg Deripaska, Russia's richest man, and Mikhail Fridman -- will have to give authorities veto power over their companies' financing decisions. ``This will give the state more leverage over the country's biggest companies and main industries,'' said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at UralSib Financial Corp in Moscow. ``In 2008, there is only one real oligarch: the state.'' All this marks a reversal from a decade ago, when oligarchs bankrolled Boris Yeltsin's almost-insolvent government. As recently as April, Russia's 100 wealthiest citizens had a combined fortune equivalent to about a third of the economy, Forbes magazine estimated. The nation's 25 wealthiest businessmen have seen their worth shrink by $230 billion, or 62 percent, according to Bloomberg calculations. And Putin controls the strings on the biggest remaining purse -- $531 billion in government reserves, which he is doling out through state-run Vnesheconombank, or VEB, where he presides as chairman of the supervisory board. 1990s Fortunes The oligarchs made their fortunes in the 1990s, as the government moved corporate ownership into individuals' hands and state authority was weak. They subsequently loaned the government money to prop up Yeltsin in return for shares in choice assets, including OAO Norilsk Nickel, Russia's biggest mining company. Their support didn't prevent the government from defaulting in 1998 on $40 billion of domestic debt and devaluing the ruble. Putin came to power as president less than two years later with the help of Boris Berezovsky, a businessman and politician in Yeltsin's inner circle who popularized the term ``oligarch.'' Berezovsky's influence was chronicled in ``Godfather of the Kremlin,'' by Paul Klebnikov, the Forbes Russia editor slain in 2004. A few months after taking office in July 2000, Putin told Mikhail Khodorkovsky, at the time Russia's richest man, and about two dozen other business leaders that their wealth was safe as long as they stayed out of politics and refrained from influencing national policy. Crusade Berezovsky, now 62, became an early victim of Putin's anti- oligarch crusade. Berezovsky fled to London in 2001 in the face of Russian fraud charges he calls politically motivated. By the end of 2003, Putin had brought the nation's business leaders to heel. The most celebrated case involved Khodorkovsky. He was arrested and convicted of tax evasion and fraud. OAO Rosneft, the state-run oil company, took control of most of his OAO Yukos Oil Co., once Russia's biggest crude exporter. The government now controls about 44 percent of oil production and all natural-gas exports. Khodorkovsky called the case against him retribution for political opposition to Putin, who denied that accusation. In the years that followed, the number of dollar billionaires swelled from a handful to more than 100, as prices for oil and other commodities surged to records and companies opened up ownership to passive foreign investors. Now, the tables have turned. Lobbying for Loans ``The oligarchs are lobbying the government for access to state funds,'' said Alexander Lebedev, 49, a billionaire who owns 30 percent of state-run airline OAO Aeroflot. ``It's not freely available to anyone who comes along.'' The attached strings are short. Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said Oct. 1 that Vnesheconombank would gain the right to bar borrowers from seeking other loans ``to avoid increasing the level of liabilities.'' The effect, according to Weafer: The state will ``dictate'' how companies invest and develop. Vnesheconombank has received applications for more than $50 billion in loans, chairman Vladimir Dmitriev said on Oct. 13. The government has also pledged more than $13 billion to buy stocks and bonds through Vnesheconombank this year and next and $36 billion in emergency subordinated loans to other banks. Potential Recipients State-owned companies and producers of oil, gas, metals and fertilizers will get most of the government money, said UniCredit SpA analysts Julia Bushueva and Elena Myazina in Moscow. Rosneft, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, may receive 47 percent of $9 billion in loans allocated to oil companies, the Kommersant newspaper reported Oct. 14. With competition for government loans stiff, frozen credit markets also may force Russian companies to pay off creditors by selling assets to cash-rich investors, including the government, Bushueva and Myazina said. More than $363 billion of corporate and bank debt is due to be repaid by July 2009, a third to foreign banks, they said. Gazenergoprombank, a lender controlled by state-run Gazprom Group, said on Oct. 15 it will acquire all of Moscow-based Sobinbank. Vnesheconombank is in talks to buy Globex, a Russian bank that's having difficulties because of investments in real estate, Kommersant reported today. Businesses caught in that potential credit squeeze include Deripaska's Basic Element, Fridman's Alfa Group, and Vladimir Yevtushenkov's A** Sistema, Bushueva and Myazina said. Already this month, the value of Deripaska's stakes in Canadian auto-parts maker Magna International Inc. and German builder Hochtief AG sank so much that he ceded the shares to foreign banks that had accepted them as loan collateral. Stocks' Support The state's growing sway over oligarchs extends beyond how they run their businesses. Putin and other top officials met individually with about 50 of the country's wealthiest businessmen and ordered them ``dump money into Russia's financial system'' to prop up the sinking stock market, says a report by Stratfor, a U.S.-based risk advisory group. The initial injection of private funds, together with government measures sent the benchmark Micex Index almost 30 percent higher on Sept. 19 in a short-lived rally. Since then, the index has dropped 43 percent. ``Going after their personal finances, especially money they hold abroad, is a whole new level of control,'' said Lauren Goodrich, a Stratfor analyst. Spokesmen for Medvedev and Putin declined to comment on the matter. While the U.S. and European governments also are increasing oversight of their economies by buying stakes in financial institutions, growing state dominance in Russia threatens to increase corruption and reduce corporate disclosure, said James Beadle, chief investment strategist at Pilgrim Asset Management in Moscow. That view was echoed by Berezovsky, the businessman who fled to London. ``This time, the corrupt bureaucrats will win,'' Berezovsky said
"SURRENDER LIFE TO MOTHERLAND, SOUL TO GOD, AND HONOUR TO NOBODY!"
Slavatar: You're online every day, but you post nothing. You don't even delete the spam crap. I'm confused, brother.
Oct 10, 2020 4:12:53 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: Browser is up, but I was doing other things..
Oct 12, 2020 18:58:52 GMT -5
Slavatar: OK.. Regards.
Oct 13, 2020 8:39:57 GMT -5
славянин: зиг хайль
Oct 22, 2020 15:41:37 GMT -5
славянин: дойчен зальдатен
Oct 22, 2020 15:41:56 GMT -5
Milo I.: Deutscher Sauerbraten?
Oct 28, 2020 9:59:34 GMT -5
White Cossack: Who's the best state leader currently?
Dec 6, 2020 8:57:53 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: Viktor Orban?
Dec 8, 2020 5:55:50 GMT -5
Gopnik: from leader's POV, i'd say Kim Jong Un as in north korea he is not forcing any pics of himself nor making a shit ton of songs praising him unlike his dad and grandfather, but instead he is attempting to get the nation out of the shithole it is in today.
Dec 13, 2020 17:16:43 GMT -5
Gopnik: but 1000000% not kim from a citizen's point of view, the Camps in North Korea are horrible.
Dec 13, 2020 17:18:52 GMT -5
White Cossack: You're both right, fellas.
Dec 18, 2020 11:17:53 GMT -5
eternal jew: indeed goys
Dec 18, 2020 12:13:55 GMT -5