Day: February 4, 2018

We Must Never Forget


The often-quoted phrase, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” paraphrasing a passage from Edmund Burke, is pertinent to the problem of the persistence of anti-Semitism. Sinning by silence, a cowardly act, instead of protesting, allows the cancer to persist and metastasize. European countries are still confronted by the disease and lack a cure.

The problem, concern with the disease and attempts to deal with it can be examined in three countries.

In Britain, according to a survey by the Community Security Trust, anti-Semitic hate crimes reached a record level in 2017. These incidents can be defined as malicious acts aimed at Jewish people, organizations, and property, targeted because the victim is believed to be Jewish. With members of the Jewish community targeted at a rate of nearly four times a day, there were 1,382 recorded incidents, three-quarters of which were in Greater London and Greater Manchester.

It does not appear these incidents were caused by reactions to specific trigger events. The most common type of incident involved verbal abuse randomly directed against visibly Jewish people, distinguished by religious clothing, school uniforms, or jewelry bearing Jewish symbols. Those responsible come from various groups, the far right, the far left and also part of the Labour party, and Islamists. Despite efforts they have not been sufficiently confronted by government and legal authorities. Interestingly, the number of incidents involving social media fell in 2017, possibly as a result of the efforts of social media companies to deal with on-line hate speech.

German leaders are aware of the problem. On January 27, 2017 Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “it is inconceivable and shameful that no Jewish institution can exist without police protection, whether it is a school, a kindergarten, or a synagogue.” Chancellor Merkel, who was the first German leader to address the Israeli Knesset, is considering the appointment of a government commissioner on anti-Semitism.

Despite the actions of Merkel, some signs suggest the situation in Germany is getting worse. Recent polls indicate that about 10% of Germans express classic anti-Semitic feelings, and many more have mild anti-Semitic prejudices.

Demonstrations in Berlin against the decision of President Donald Trump on December 7, 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital might be considered a political action. But protestors chanted anti-Semitic slogans as well as torching Israeli flags. Another disturbing incident is that memorial plaques outside the homes of Holocaust victims were dug out of the ground and stolen.

More troubling is the rise of the far-right political party AfD, only four years old, which at the 2017 Federal parliamentary election got 12.6% of the vote and 94 seats and is presently the third largest party in the Bundestag. The AfD is a xenophobic, nationalist, and populist party though it does not declare itself anti-Semitic or Nazi. Nevertheless, utterances by some of the prominent people in the party are troubling. One of the founders, Bjorn Hocke, is critical of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, designed by Peter Eisenman and inaugurated in 2005. “We Germans are the only people in the world who have planted a memorial of shame in the heart of their capital.” Another member of AfD has dismissed the Holocaust as merely “certain misdeeds” and argued, contrary to German law, that Holocaust denial is legitimate.

Curiously, Austrian authorities are acting against the virus. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on January 31, 2018, said he was preparing to dissolve a student fraternity, Germania, which has links to the far-right Freedom party FPO, a junior partner in the governing coalition, because of the fraternity songbook mocking victims of the Holocaust. The former vice chair of the fraternity ran as a candidate for an Austrian state election. Lines in the song included “Step on the gas, you ancient Germanic peoples, we’ll manage the seventh million”, a direct reference to the six million murdered by Nazis. The issue is doubly troubling, partly because a large number of FPO politicians have ties to student fraternities, and partly because the FPO in the October 2017 legislative election gained support, coming in third and winning 20.5% of the vote and 51 seats.

France has tried to deal with the disease in different ways. Two actions illustrate the problem. One is the quick response of President Emmanuel Macron to the physical attack on January 29, 2018 in Sarcelles on an eight-year-old Jewish boy wearing a kippa. The Republic as a whole, Macron said, is assaulted: the Republic stands alongside the French people of Jewish faith to fight these vile acts.

The second, a more controversial question, is the decision of leading Paris publisher Gallimard to shelve plans to reissue a collection of anti-Semitic pamphlets by Louis-Ferdinand Celine written in the late 1930s. For some French people, Celine is regarded not only as a prominent writer but even as a cultural icon. But he was an obsessive anti-Semite whose pamphlets are virulent and bigoted. Celine fled France in 1944, was later convicted in absentia of collaboration with Nazi Germany, but was granted amnesty and returned to France. On him, opinions differ widely. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe thought his collection should be published with a critical and contextual commentary because Celine has a central position in French literature. The indefatigable hunter of anti-Semites, Serge Klarsfeld, threatened legal action if the collection was published. Gallimard, even if reluctantly, made the right decision.

The Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948 spoke of the need for recognition of equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. Sadly, this hope and promise has not been fulfilled, as world disasters and tragedies have shown around the world, in Cambodia, Kosovo, Darfur, Syria, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Iraq. Above all, the disease of anti-Semitism still spreads. Medical research has made unbelievable progress in curing illness. If only there were some form of social cauterization that could destroy the anti-Semitic disease. The cure is Never Again.

The often-quoted phrase, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” paraphrasing a passage from Edmund Burke, is pertinent to the problem of the persistence of anti-Semitism. Sinning by silence, a cowardly act, instead of protesting, allows the cancer to persist and metastasize. European countries are still confronted by the disease and lack a cure.

The problem, concern with the disease and attempts to deal with it can be examined in three countries.

In Britain, according to a survey by the Community Security Trust, anti-Semitic hate crimes reached a record level in 2017. These incidents can be defined as malicious acts aimed at Jewish people, organizations, and property, targeted because the victim is believed to be Jewish. With members of the Jewish community targeted at a rate of nearly four times a day, there were 1,382 recorded incidents, three-quarters of which were in Greater London and Greater Manchester.

It does not appear these incidents were caused by reactions to specific trigger events. The most common type of incident involved verbal abuse randomly directed against visibly Jewish people, distinguished by religious clothing, school uniforms, or jewelry bearing Jewish symbols. Those responsible come from various groups, the far right, the far left and also part of the Labour party, and Islamists. Despite efforts they have not been sufficiently confronted by government and legal authorities. Interestingly, the number of incidents involving social media fell in 2017, possibly as a result of the efforts of social media companies to deal with on-line hate speech.

German leaders are aware of the problem. On January 27, 2017 Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “it is inconceivable and shameful that no Jewish institution can exist without police protection, whether it is a school, a kindergarten, or a synagogue.” Chancellor Merkel, who was the first German leader to address the Israeli Knesset, is considering the appointment of a government commissioner on anti-Semitism.

Despite the actions of Merkel, some signs suggest the situation in Germany is getting worse. Recent polls indicate that about 10% of Germans express classic anti-Semitic feelings, and many more have mild anti-Semitic prejudices.

Demonstrations in Berlin against the decision of President Donald Trump on December 7, 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital might be considered a political action. But protestors chanted anti-Semitic slogans as well as torching Israeli flags. Another disturbing incident is that memorial plaques outside the homes of Holocaust victims were dug out of the ground and stolen.

More troubling is the rise of the far-right political party AfD, only four years old, which at the 2017 Federal parliamentary election got 12.6% of the vote and 94 seats and is presently the third largest party in the Bundestag. The AfD is a xenophobic, nationalist, and populist party though it does not declare itself anti-Semitic or Nazi. Nevertheless, utterances by some of the prominent people in the party are troubling. One of the founders, Bjorn Hocke, is critical of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, designed by Peter Eisenman and inaugurated in 2005. “We Germans are the only people in the world who have planted a memorial of shame in the heart of their capital.” Another member of AfD has dismissed the Holocaust as merely “certain misdeeds” and argued, contrary to German law, that Holocaust denial is legitimate.

Curiously, Austrian authorities are acting against the virus. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on January 31, 2018, said he was preparing to dissolve a student fraternity, Germania, which has links to the far-right Freedom party FPO, a junior partner in the governing coalition, because of the fraternity songbook mocking victims of the Holocaust. The former vice chair of the fraternity ran as a candidate for an Austrian state election. Lines in the song included “Step on the gas, you ancient Germanic peoples, we’ll manage the seventh million”, a direct reference to the six million murdered by Nazis. The issue is doubly troubling, partly because a large number of FPO politicians have ties to student fraternities, and partly because the FPO in the October 2017 legislative election gained support, coming in third and winning 20.5% of the vote and 51 seats.

France has tried to deal with the disease in different ways. Two actions illustrate the problem. One is the quick response of President Emmanuel Macron to the physical attack on January 29, 2018 in Sarcelles on an eight-year-old Jewish boy wearing a kippa. The Republic as a whole, Macron said, is assaulted: the Republic stands alongside the French people of Jewish faith to fight these vile acts.

The second, a more controversial question, is the decision of leading Paris publisher Gallimard to shelve plans to reissue a collection of anti-Semitic pamphlets by Louis-Ferdinand Celine written in the late 1930s. For some French people, Celine is regarded not only as a prominent writer but even as a cultural icon. But he was an obsessive anti-Semite whose pamphlets are virulent and bigoted. Celine fled France in 1944, was later convicted in absentia of collaboration with Nazi Germany, but was granted amnesty and returned to France. On him, opinions differ widely. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe thought his collection should be published with a critical and contextual commentary because Celine has a central position in French literature. The indefatigable hunter of anti-Semites, Serge Klarsfeld, threatened legal action if the collection was published. Gallimard, even if reluctantly, made the right decision.

The Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948 spoke of the need for recognition of equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. Sadly, this hope and promise has not been fulfilled, as world disasters and tragedies have shown around the world, in Cambodia, Kosovo, Darfur, Syria, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Iraq. Above all, the disease of anti-Semitism still spreads. Medical research has made unbelievable progress in curing illness. If only there were some form of social cauterization that could destroy the anti-Semitic disease. The cure is Never Again.



Source link

The Democrats' Defense of the Indefensible



The most confounding aspect of the response to "the memo" is the Left's hysteria over its release to the public. 



Source link

‘All I know is murder’


Everything you need to know about the Super Bowl can be found in the rap hit “Dreams and Nightmares,” by Meek Mill. But which more truthfully could be named after a line in the song: “The Murder Game” or “All I Know Is Murder.”

Everything about how far professional football has fallen and how the NFL celebrates the obscene, the vulgar, the dangerous, and the foolish will be on full display as that song blares as the Eagles take the field.

This song that the Eagle players have chosen is about guns, drugs, money, bitches, and murder, over and over and over. Just like the rest of Meek Mill songs, which also include a healthy dollop of the evils of the white man.

We do not know whether the Eagles will be kneeling prior to the big game as they have during the season. Or whether they will be following the dictates of their union which, after accepting $100 million from the owners, decided that white racism and police brutality were not so bad after all.

Meek Mill will not be there. He’s in the joint. The slammer. All for a violating his parole over and over and over. All for committing crimes over and over and over.

The Eagles don’t think that is fair. Don’t you know that crime is the new black entitlement? The mayor and district attorney of the City of Brotherly Love certainly do: That was their platform during their recent elections.

The Eagles and Meek Mill adopted each other, with the Eagles and other Meek Mill partisans selling eager reporters on one fairy tale after another of police misconduct, judicial corruption, and circumstantial evidence.

But they do not talk about what is in Meek Mill’s music.

Meek Mill is huge and rich and not hiding anything. He loves to write songs about himself, even though most music lovers at the Super Bowl will have no idea what he is saying — largely because most of his lyrics are just too obscene to reproduce in anything resembling a news outlet that frowns on explicit obscenity.

#MeToo anyone?

So if you find yourself at a Super Bowl party, and want The Ish to get real — real fast — just ask anyone, as innocently as you can, if they can tell you what that song is about. Then offer to help. A few excerpts from Dreams and Nightmares.

Meek Mill starts off by talking about how he made it big and how he is surrounded by jealous people who hate him for his wealth, especially his foreign cars and the lovely ladies who love to keep him company.

No crawlin’, went straight to walkin’ with foreigns in my garages.

All foreign bitches ménagin’, f*ckin’, suckin’ and swallowin’.


Anything for a dollar, they tell me “Get ’em!”, I got ’em


I did it without an album


I did shit with Mariah


Lil’ nigga, I’m on fire


Icy as a hockey rink, Philly nigga, I’m flyer


When I bought the Rolls Royce they thought it was leased

Lovely ladies and expensive foreign cars take up a few more beats, then he gets back to guns and murder.

These niggas tryna take my life, they fuck around and get killed…


All I know is murder, when it come to me


I got young niggas that’s rollin’, I got niggas throwin’ B’s


I done did the DOA’s, 

Then after a pause to tell people how he and his killers like riding around Miami Beach rioting and robbing — a popular pastime for the fellas during Black Beach Week — he gets back to more killing. Because that is what “real niggas” do:

If you ain’t about that murder game the, pussy nigga, shut up!


If you diss me in your raps, I’ll get yo’ pussy stuck up.

Which is what apparently happened at the BET awards in 2016, on video, when Meek Mill and his crew attacked a rival rapper and romantic rival.

After more talk of his Rolls Royce cars, he gets back to the lovely ladies and how they love his money and what it was like when he first made money selling lots of drugs.

It was somethin’ about that Rollie when it first touched my wrist


Had me feelin’ like that dope boy when he first touched that brick

Dang, I just realized I left out several references to large-scale drug purchases. I’d go back and insert them into this article, but for some reason I am feeling kind of sick.

Colin Flaherty is the author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller Don’t Make the Kids Angry. You can catch the full words and music over at Colin’s new video channel: minds.com/ColinFlaherty

Everything you need to know about the Super Bowl can be found in the rap hit “Dreams and Nightmares,” by Meek Mill. But which more truthfully could be named after a line in the song: “The Murder Game” or “All I Know Is Murder.”

Everything about how far professional football has fallen and how the NFL celebrates the obscene, the vulgar, the dangerous, and the foolish will be on full display as that song blares as the Eagles take the field.

This song that the Eagle players have chosen is about guns, drugs, money, bitches, and murder, over and over and over. Just like the rest of Meek Mill songs, which also include a healthy dollop of the evils of the white man.

We do not know whether the Eagles will be kneeling prior to the big game as they have during the season. Or whether they will be following the dictates of their union which, after accepting $100 million from the owners, decided that white racism and police brutality were not so bad after all.

Meek Mill will not be there. He’s in the joint. The slammer. All for a violating his parole over and over and over. All for committing crimes over and over and over.

The Eagles don’t think that is fair. Don’t you know that crime is the new black entitlement? The mayor and district attorney of the City of Brotherly Love certainly do: That was their platform during their recent elections.

The Eagles and Meek Mill adopted each other, with the Eagles and other Meek Mill partisans selling eager reporters on one fairy tale after another of police misconduct, judicial corruption, and circumstantial evidence.

But they do not talk about what is in Meek Mill’s music.

Meek Mill is huge and rich and not hiding anything. He loves to write songs about himself, even though most music lovers at the Super Bowl will have no idea what he is saying — largely because most of his lyrics are just too obscene to reproduce in anything resembling a news outlet that frowns on explicit obscenity.

#MeToo anyone?

So if you find yourself at a Super Bowl party, and want The Ish to get real — real fast — just ask anyone, as innocently as you can, if they can tell you what that song is about. Then offer to help. A few excerpts from Dreams and Nightmares.

Meek Mill starts off by talking about how he made it big and how he is surrounded by jealous people who hate him for his wealth, especially his foreign cars and the lovely ladies who love to keep him company.

No crawlin’, went straight to walkin’ with foreigns in my garages.

All foreign bitches ménagin’, f*ckin’, suckin’ and swallowin’.


Anything for a dollar, they tell me “Get ’em!”, I got ’em


I did it without an album


I did shit with Mariah


Lil’ nigga, I’m on fire


Icy as a hockey rink, Philly nigga, I’m flyer


When I bought the Rolls Royce they thought it was leased

Lovely ladies and expensive foreign cars take up a few more beats, then he gets back to guns and murder.

These niggas tryna take my life, they fuck around and get killed…


All I know is murder, when it come to me


I got young niggas that’s rollin’, I got niggas throwin’ B’s


I done did the DOA’s, 

Then after a pause to tell people how he and his killers like riding around Miami Beach rioting and robbing — a popular pastime for the fellas during Black Beach Week — he gets back to more killing. Because that is what “real niggas” do:

If you ain’t about that murder game the, pussy nigga, shut up!


If you diss me in your raps, I’ll get yo’ pussy stuck up.

Which is what apparently happened at the BET awards in 2016, on video, when Meek Mill and his crew attacked a rival rapper and romantic rival.

After more talk of his Rolls Royce cars, he gets back to the lovely ladies and how they love his money and what it was like when he first made money selling lots of drugs.

It was somethin’ about that Rollie when it first touched my wrist


Had me feelin’ like that dope boy when he first touched that brick

Dang, I just realized I left out several references to large-scale drug purchases. I’d go back and insert them into this article, but for some reason I am feeling kind of sick.

Colin Flaherty is the author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller Don’t Make the Kids Angry. You can catch the full words and music over at Colin’s new video channel: minds.com/ColinFlaherty



Source link

How the President Trump is gaining leverage on Putin (as his critics smirk)


Criticism and mockery accompanied publication of the US Department of the Treasury’s long-awaited report on the Russian authorities and President Putin’s closest associates (the “oligarchs list”). But a close analysis of the context and form of the report indicates that President Trump may once again gain leverage as his clueless critics smirk at his presumed incompetence.  

The open part of the report, submitted by Treasury 11 minutes before the statutory expiry date, contains the names of 210 individuals, including high-ranking officials from Russia’s Presidential Administration, government members, and representatives of large businesses with a fortune of more than $ 1 billion.

Publication of the report was mandated by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, passed by Congress in July 2017. The bill resembles a politico-strategic document in the form of a law, the purpose of which is to force President Trump to remain within the agenda of the political establishment and not to let him pursue any political rapprochement with Russia.

The document provoked many negative reactions among prominent members of Congress, academic experts and media. The list was criticized for being devised in an amateurish and primitive way. The list’s authors included some people that advocated normalization of relations with the United States, in particular, and the West in general, as well as some businesspeople that are not related to the closest circle of Putin and are not part of the Russian corruption hierarchy pyramid. At the same time, the creators of the report were accused of missing some odious representatives of the ruling regime that caused severe damage to the United States and its allies by their actions, who deserve to be at the top of that list.

The authors of the report were also reproached for lack of professionalism and absence of specific goals. There was widespread joking that Trump’s had provided Congress with some names from the Kremlin phone book and Forbes Magazine’s Russian edition. The Atlantic Council, a think-tank, charged that the Department of the Treasury had changed the document at the last minute, so that Congress received an entirely different list from what was prepared originally by the White House experts.

In Russia, the reaction was completely mixed. The ruling political elite perceived the publication of the “oligarchs list” with sarcasm, mocking the administration of the US President for the simplicity of the document. Nevertheless, I am deeply convinced that this reaction was in fact aimed at an internal audience, especially the ruling elite. The goal was to show that this list does not pose any threats to the Russian authorities and Putin personally. Meanwhile, the Russian President’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, accused the US of interfering in the presidential elections in the Russian Federation.

In fact, this document comprises the entire political and economic elite of Russia.  The architects of the whole process have sent an alarm to warn them about potential forthcoming disaster – sanctions – but gave the enough time to avoid restrictions on the part of the United States. These billionaires now face a choice in what to do tin protect themselves and their wealth.

Most of these entrepreneurs hold dual or even triple citizenship. Considering the fact that the legal system of Russia does not guarantee the right to private property and anyone can lose hisher property at the will of one person, it is logical to assume that much of their accumulated wealth already has been exported from Russia to other countries or offshore zones. According to various sources, over the past 22 years, the outflow of capital from Russia has amounted to about $700 billion.

It should also be noted that most of these businesspeople are not tax residents of the Russian Federation, since they do not reside on its territory for more than six months during a year.  While living abroad, especially in the USA and EU, many have managed to establish strong business relations with large Western companies, take part in large-scale investment projects, purchase expensive real estate and personal property, and open and maintain accounts in Western banks, as well as get long-term loans at low interest.

But having been included in what is seen as a blacklist of the US Treasury, they face a dilemma: remaining loyal to the Russian ruling regime and risking losing major parts of  their wealth from forthcoming sanctions, or trying to shield themselves and their capital through American lobbying organizations, leaving Russia, and taking away as much as possible of their remaining wealth there.

From a business standpoint, the first option is less attractive, as the potential for the security and growth of their wealth in Russia is limited, owing to the existing tough economic and political circumstances, while the possible loss from US sanctions could be considerable. Consequently, it is likely that the majority of them will prefer to keep their fortunes, business ties and contacts overseas, leaving Russia.

It is also important to note that many of these people originally acquired most of their wealth in conjunction with the state, having by various means appropriated its financial flows or natural resources. This means that they obtained crucial information about the peculiarities of the corruption pyramid and the schemes used in Russia. This kind of knowledge is of enormous value to the United States.

Given all the above-mentioned context, it is possible to say with near certainty that America’s lobbying organizations will be put to work in the upcoming months by Russian oligarchs, and new folders with compromising materials that are extremely dangerous for Putin’s administration will appear at the disposal of the US federal investigative bodies.

Thus, the Trump Administration is likely to gain a significant lever of influence on the political and economic elite of Russia. If it is put to efficient use, it will be possible to shake the monolithic power structure created by Putin, and seed distrust among the ruling elite of the country. If we take into account the fact that this process takes place on the eve of the presidential elections in Russia, it becomes much more threatening for the Russian authorities.

In this context, the seemingly pro forma statement by Putin’s Press Secretary, accusing the United States of America of interfering in the presidential elections in the Russian Federation, may actually have some truth to it.

Artur Ghazinya PhD, is Head of the Center for European Studies.

Criticism and mockery accompanied publication of the US Department of the Treasury’s long-awaited report on the Russian authorities and President Putin’s closest associates (the “oligarchs list”). But a close analysis of the context and form of the report indicates that President Trump may once again gain leverage as his clueless critics smirk at his presumed incompetence.  

The open part of the report, submitted by Treasury 11 minutes before the statutory expiry date, contains the names of 210 individuals, including high-ranking officials from Russia’s Presidential Administration, government members, and representatives of large businesses with a fortune of more than $ 1 billion.

Publication of the report was mandated by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, passed by Congress in July 2017. The bill resembles a politico-strategic document in the form of a law, the purpose of which is to force President Trump to remain within the agenda of the political establishment and not to let him pursue any political rapprochement with Russia.

The document provoked many negative reactions among prominent members of Congress, academic experts and media. The list was criticized for being devised in an amateurish and primitive way. The list’s authors included some people that advocated normalization of relations with the United States, in particular, and the West in general, as well as some businesspeople that are not related to the closest circle of Putin and are not part of the Russian corruption hierarchy pyramid. At the same time, the creators of the report were accused of missing some odious representatives of the ruling regime that caused severe damage to the United States and its allies by their actions, who deserve to be at the top of that list.

The authors of the report were also reproached for lack of professionalism and absence of specific goals. There was widespread joking that Trump’s had provided Congress with some names from the Kremlin phone book and Forbes Magazine’s Russian edition. The Atlantic Council, a think-tank, charged that the Department of the Treasury had changed the document at the last minute, so that Congress received an entirely different list from what was prepared originally by the White House experts.

In Russia, the reaction was completely mixed. The ruling political elite perceived the publication of the “oligarchs list” with sarcasm, mocking the administration of the US President for the simplicity of the document. Nevertheless, I am deeply convinced that this reaction was in fact aimed at an internal audience, especially the ruling elite. The goal was to show that this list does not pose any threats to the Russian authorities and Putin personally. Meanwhile, the Russian President’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, accused the US of interfering in the presidential elections in the Russian Federation.

In fact, this document comprises the entire political and economic elite of Russia.  The architects of the whole process have sent an alarm to warn them about potential forthcoming disaster – sanctions – but gave the enough time to avoid restrictions on the part of the United States. These billionaires now face a choice in what to do tin protect themselves and their wealth.

Most of these entrepreneurs hold dual or even triple citizenship. Considering the fact that the legal system of Russia does not guarantee the right to private property and anyone can lose hisher property at the will of one person, it is logical to assume that much of their accumulated wealth already has been exported from Russia to other countries or offshore zones. According to various sources, over the past 22 years, the outflow of capital from Russia has amounted to about $700 billion.

It should also be noted that most of these businesspeople are not tax residents of the Russian Federation, since they do not reside on its territory for more than six months during a year.  While living abroad, especially in the USA and EU, many have managed to establish strong business relations with large Western companies, take part in large-scale investment projects, purchase expensive real estate and personal property, and open and maintain accounts in Western banks, as well as get long-term loans at low interest.

But having been included in what is seen as a blacklist of the US Treasury, they face a dilemma: remaining loyal to the Russian ruling regime and risking losing major parts of  their wealth from forthcoming sanctions, or trying to shield themselves and their capital through American lobbying organizations, leaving Russia, and taking away as much as possible of their remaining wealth there.

From a business standpoint, the first option is less attractive, as the potential for the security and growth of their wealth in Russia is limited, owing to the existing tough economic and political circumstances, while the possible loss from US sanctions could be considerable. Consequently, it is likely that the majority of them will prefer to keep their fortunes, business ties and contacts overseas, leaving Russia.

It is also important to note that many of these people originally acquired most of their wealth in conjunction with the state, having by various means appropriated its financial flows or natural resources. This means that they obtained crucial information about the peculiarities of the corruption pyramid and the schemes used in Russia. This kind of knowledge is of enormous value to the United States.

Given all the above-mentioned context, it is possible to say with near certainty that America’s lobbying organizations will be put to work in the upcoming months by Russian oligarchs, and new folders with compromising materials that are extremely dangerous for Putin’s administration will appear at the disposal of the US federal investigative bodies.

Thus, the Trump Administration is likely to gain a significant lever of influence on the political and economic elite of Russia. If it is put to efficient use, it will be possible to shake the monolithic power structure created by Putin, and seed distrust among the ruling elite of the country. If we take into account the fact that this process takes place on the eve of the presidential elections in Russia, it becomes much more threatening for the Russian authorities.

In this context, the seemingly pro forma statement by Putin’s Press Secretary, accusing the United States of America of interfering in the presidential elections in the Russian Federation, may actually have some truth to it.

Artur Ghazinya PhD, is Head of the Center for European Studies.



Source link