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The Treasury has come out with its list of 210 Russian oligarchs and politicians, ostensibly in preparation for targeted sanctions.

It’s a pretty hilarious affair, basically a copy-paste job from the Forbes list of Russian billionaires and a page listing biographies at government.ru .

If I wanted to try to split the Russian elite, I would publicly target specific people who are close to Putin, to let them know that they will have to pay a price if they want to support the regime (no Courchevel vacations, no Swiss bank accounts, no English boarding schools, etc.). As Bershidsky points out, this list sweeps them all up willy-nilly, including oligarchs who no longer maintain close ties with Russia let alone Putin (e.g. Yuri Shefler, Yuri Milner), as well as oligarchs who have had some part of their businesses expropriated by the Russian government (e.g. the brothers Ananiev, Danil Khachaturov, Mikhail Shishkhanov).

Consequently, there are three ways in which you could interpret this:

1. We doesn’t care about your ties with the Putin regime. If you’re a Russian oligarch, you’re in for a world of hurt.

2. We are doing this for formality’s sake. Don’t worry, nothing will come of it.

3. We outsourced it to some lazy intern, because we don’t give a shit about this (in other words, #2).

Either way you look at it, this is a victory for Putin. In #1, Russia’s elites stand to lose their access to Western amenities, but they won’t have an incentive to drop Putin since they are all gonna get hammered anyway. If #2-3, it’s just business as usual.

There’s also a fourth theory:

4. This is just the open list, the “closed list” has all the juicy details of the targets’ connections to Putin, as well as the real targets of future sanctions.

This theory is being advanced by both anti-Putin liberals (Navalny) and nationalists (Strelkov, Sputnik i Pogrom), although for rather different reasons. The former because well, Navalny really really hopes that the US implements hardcore sanctions against Putin & Co. to the hilt (as opposed to using Navalny as an expendable pawn every now and then), the latter because they view this as the US exploiting what they view as Putin’s very weak responses to US meddling in Russia’s sphere.

I don’t really buy this version for the following reasons:

1. No point in keeping this secret, just as there’s no point in keeping a doomsday machine secret.

Doing so annuls the main point of the list – to signal to the Russian elite that they should think about throwing Putin overboard, or at the very least jumping off his ship themselves.

2. It is a complicated 4D chess conspiracy theory, which goes contrary to both Occam’s Razor and a general rule of thumb – namely, that the American government bureaucracies – just like the Russian ones – are staffed by morons.

Recall this?

Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Ca): Do you know anything about Gazprom, Director?
FBI Director James Comey: I don’t.
Speier: Well, it’s a — it’s an oil company.

So no, I’m not expecting any particular Kremlinological expertise from a culture where Russia experts who consider knowledge of Russian optional find guaranteed employment.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Russiagate 
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  1. Had tried to put this on AK’s ‘Open Thread’ today but it had a message saying ‘comments closed’

    Speaking of the apparently Jewish Andrew ‘weev’ Auernheimer mentioned above [in the 'Open Thread' post], and his colleague Andrew Anglin and the Daily Stormer, they seem to have just been bounced again from their web url where they’d held on for a number of weeks, and are now at dailystormer.top

    [MORE]

    On the Stormer site or 4chan or many other places, people have seen a ubiquitous hooked-nose Jewish-bashing cartoon figure, which people often assume is something borrowed from the 1930s-40s … but it turns out it is a roughly 1990s creation of a literally satanist-involved film-maker

    The ‘Happy Merchant’, recently used in controversy by Yair Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister’s son, is a hugely popular negative Jewish stereotype cartoon meme. Its creator is apparently film-maker Nick Bougas (b. 1955) who drew using the name A. Wyatt Mann (‘a white man’). Image seems from the 1991-2001 era, when Bougas filmed documentaries on ‘Charles Manson, Then & Now’, & ‘Speak of the Devil, the Canon of Anton LaVey’, after Bougas attended the 8 Aug 1988 San Francisco Satanist rally and dabbled with white nationalists. Bougas’ original may be the one in the upper left, next to the ‘illuminati eye’ one used by Yair Netanyahu.

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  2. Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

    The reason why the first handful of Russian billionaires were called oligarchs was because they really had large political influence, arguably almost as large as President Yeltsin. Those few people amassed vast wealth for themselves, and held influential governmental positions as advisors or similar, controlled large portions of the media, financed major political parties, bribed politicians, and in general were above the law.

    Today Russian billionaires no longer have much political influence, if they control a media outlet, they wisely only support the Kremlin with it (since they understand it could be taken from them at a moment’s notice), and need to be loyal to the Kremlin to keep what they have. In short, they are no longer oligarchs.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    You are entirely correct. Strictly speaking, American billionaires are closer to the definition of "oligarch" than are "Russian oligarchs", ironically enough. People like Soros, the Kochs, Bezos, Mercer, etc. have far more influence over American politics than their Russian equivalents.

    This is a trope that I myself try to avoid, but it is difficult to completely escape the frame created by the Western media entirely.

    In fairness, it's not an entirely unjustified trope, in the sense that "oligarch" has pejorative associations. Decry them as you want, but on average, the Russian super-rich are far nastier, scummier, and less deserving than their American counterparts, who at least predominantly got where they are by building value instead of stealing it.
    , @Dmitry

    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

     

    It doesn't mean publicly open politics. In the FSU, things happen more behind closed doors compared to the West, and you often get rich because of your connections or involvement to the government, with various exceptions (some of whom are normal businessmen who have been added to this list).

    In the United States, if you look at people like Bezos, they operate through trying to change the public opinions. His newspaper Washington Post, tries to change public attitudes, which will then change voting patterns. It's a different kind of politics that goes through the public sphere. Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage (look how they give Skolkovo Innovation Center as a responsibility to Viktor Vekselberg, or Chukotka to be governed by Roman Abramovich) and have free space to meet with the government behind the scenes

    , @Randal

    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never.
     
    Well there was a study a few years back that was widely reported as establishing that the US is an "oligarchy", even though I understand the study itself didn't use the term:

    Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy

    But it's true that the term oligarch is usually pretty much reserved for Russians in the establishment media.

    It's one of those quirks of establishment media groupthink (if you are naive/"grownup" about it) or US sphere propaganda (if you are cynical/"conspiracy theorist" about it), a bit like the consistent use of the term "regime" to refer only to a government regarded as illegitimate by US sphere media elites and usually one targeted for regime change by US sphere governments.

    Personally, I do occasionally use oligarch to refer to US billionaires, but I fairly consistently try to use the term regime for US sphere governments (especially the US itself) and government for the targeted and delegitimised governments, just out of sheer cussedness.

    I'll try to use oligarch more consistently for US sphere billionaires in future, now that you've highlighted it.

    , @Dmitry

    if they control a media outlet, they wisely only support the Kremlin with it (since they understand it could be taken from them at a moment’s notice), and need to be loyal to the Kremlin to keep what they have. In short, they are no longer oligarchs.
     
    To add to what I said above.

    It would be easier to call politically connected ones, 'Barons', 'Counts' or 'Boyars'. Loyalty to the state is an essential component - and when the state weakens they may start fighting amongst themselves, as during transition periods. The government also 'makes' loyal lieutenants - like Igor Sechin (you can look up his yacht and wife troubles) - which is de facto kind of 'ennoblement' in terms of the 'bonuses', not much different to when the monarch gave loyal allies some quantity of land and souls within as a reward for help in governing.

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  3. @reiner Tor
    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

    The reason why the first handful of Russian billionaires were called oligarchs was because they really had large political influence, arguably almost as large as President Yeltsin. Those few people amassed vast wealth for themselves, and held influential governmental positions as advisors or similar, controlled large portions of the media, financed major political parties, bribed politicians, and in general were above the law.

    Today Russian billionaires no longer have much political influence, if they control a media outlet, they wisely only support the Kremlin with it (since they understand it could be taken from them at a moment’s notice), and need to be loyal to the Kremlin to keep what they have. In short, they are no longer oligarchs.

    You are entirely correct. Strictly speaking, American billionaires are closer to the definition of “oligarch” than are “Russian oligarchs”, ironically enough. People like Soros, the Kochs, Bezos, Mercer, etc. have far more influence over American politics than their Russian equivalents.

    This is a trope that I myself try to avoid, but it is difficult to completely escape the frame created by the Western media entirely.

    In fairness, it’s not an entirely unjustified trope, in the sense that “oligarch” has pejorative associations. Decry them as you want, but on average, the Russian super-rich are far nastier, scummier, and less deserving than their American counterparts, who at least predominantly got where they are by building value instead of stealing it.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Anatoly, I'd actually enjoy seeing you expand on that: a column or series of columns on "American Oligarchs." Focusing, in part, on specific measures that YouTube et al. are implementing or proposing to further manipulate Western public knowledge and opinion.
    , @Singh
    Ruchir Sharma book Economic growth in post crisis world explores this.

    Basically America Taiwan Japan have billionaires mostly in tech/manufacturing. This leads to congenital social relations with billionaires able to move around unguarded.

    In contrast Latin America but especially Russia India where most are natural resource billionaires, have the favela vs fortress culture.

    This is because tech fortunes are due to innovation while coal/oil fortunes due to connections to secure licenses; corruption, essentially.

    America has a good mix of good and bad billionaires I should add while the E Asian Tigers are all predominantly good।।
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  4. ‘Jews Are Fighting and the Whole Country Has To Watch’
    Jews in Power or Jewish Power? The Captains of Russia’s Post-Communist Economy Invited Uneasy Questions

    https://web.archive.org/web/20050306174251/http://www.forward.com/issues/2002/02.09.13/arts1.html

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  5. @Anatoly Karlin
    You are entirely correct. Strictly speaking, American billionaires are closer to the definition of "oligarch" than are "Russian oligarchs", ironically enough. People like Soros, the Kochs, Bezos, Mercer, etc. have far more influence over American politics than their Russian equivalents.

    This is a trope that I myself try to avoid, but it is difficult to completely escape the frame created by the Western media entirely.

    In fairness, it's not an entirely unjustified trope, in the sense that "oligarch" has pejorative associations. Decry them as you want, but on average, the Russian super-rich are far nastier, scummier, and less deserving than their American counterparts, who at least predominantly got where they are by building value instead of stealing it.

    Anatoly, I’d actually enjoy seeing you expand on that: a column or series of columns on “American Oligarchs.” Focusing, in part, on specific measures that YouTube et al. are implementing or proposing to further manipulate Western public knowledge and opinion.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. Potanin and Fridman are the great survivors in that they were both in the original lineup of 7 oligarchs during the Yeltsin Era. Both were smart enough to take Putin’s offer and not go against him unlike Gusinsky and Berezovsky.

    Abramovich is interesting in that he continues to straddle Russia and the West (moreso the latter these days).

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    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Potanin and Fridman are the great survivors in that they were both in the original lineup of 7 oligarchs during the Yeltsin Era. Both were smart enough to take Putin’s offer and not go against him unlike Gusinsky and Berezovsky.
     
    A large proportion of oligarchs today have roots during the Yeltsin era. Only several rebellious personalities didn't pass over to the new administration, and got knocked - but from a group of dozens. The vast majority are not touched. They usually have to fall out with the government in an explicit way to get into trouble.
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  7. @Niccolo Salo
    Potanin and Fridman are the great survivors in that they were both in the original lineup of 7 oligarchs during the Yeltsin Era. Both were smart enough to take Putin's offer and not go against him unlike Gusinsky and Berezovsky.

    Abramovich is interesting in that he continues to straddle Russia and the West (moreso the latter these days).

    Potanin and Fridman are the great survivors in that they were both in the original lineup of 7 oligarchs during the Yeltsin Era. Both were smart enough to take Putin’s offer and not go against him unlike Gusinsky and Berezovsky.

    A large proportion of oligarchs today have roots during the Yeltsin era. Only several rebellious personalities didn’t pass over to the new administration, and got knocked – but from a group of dozens. The vast majority are not touched. They usually have to fall out with the government in an explicit way to get into trouble.

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  8. @reiner Tor
    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

    The reason why the first handful of Russian billionaires were called oligarchs was because they really had large political influence, arguably almost as large as President Yeltsin. Those few people amassed vast wealth for themselves, and held influential governmental positions as advisors or similar, controlled large portions of the media, financed major political parties, bribed politicians, and in general were above the law.

    Today Russian billionaires no longer have much political influence, if they control a media outlet, they wisely only support the Kremlin with it (since they understand it could be taken from them at a moment’s notice), and need to be loyal to the Kremlin to keep what they have. In short, they are no longer oligarchs.

    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

    It doesn’t mean publicly open politics. In the FSU, things happen more behind closed doors compared to the West, and you often get rich because of your connections or involvement to the government, with various exceptions (some of whom are normal businessmen who have been added to this list).

    In the United States, if you look at people like Bezos, they operate through trying to change the public opinions. His newspaper Washington Post, tries to change public attitudes, which will then change voting patterns. It’s a different kind of politics that goes through the public sphere. Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage (look how they give Skolkovo Innovation Center as a responsibility to Viktor Vekselberg, or Chukotka to be governed by Roman Abramovich) and have free space to meet with the government behind the scenes

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    • Replies: @utu

    they operate through trying to change the public opinions... It’s a different kind of politics that goes through the public sphere. Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage
     
    Power is power. The reason you do not see it as being that blatant in the US because it is a part of the way establishment works. They get gov project and they do not do it via changing of public opinion. Legislations are written for them and by them. And yes, they control media.
    , @neutral

    Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage
     
    Bezos was literally given the project to provide cloud computing services for US spy agencies. Musk was literally given the job to provide rockets for secret spy satellites. Then you have the more traditional setups such as Cheneys infrastructure ventures. Lets not even mention Lockheed or Boeing, I am pretty sure you are aware how they operate.
    , @Twinkie
    The crucial difference is the level of transparency. That discourages egregiously corrupt behaviors on both ends (government-industry), and if someone persists, there is eventually a price to pay.
    , @Mitleser

    Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage (look how they give Skolkovo Innovation Center as a responsibility to Viktor Vekselberg, or Chukotka to be governed by Roman Abramovich) and have free space to meet with the government behind the scenes
     
    Why would Abramovich need official jobs in Chukotka to meet with the government behind the scenes?
    He was already an important guy, and Chukotka did cost him money.
    , @Anon
    Largely agree. Oligarchy traditionally meant a degraded form of government by a few 'bad' men who rule for their own interest and not for any common good. It was a political term.

    However, in modern parlance, oligarchs are those powerful men that got filthy rich by their know-who and not their business know-how. It denotes a type of businessman. Present day Russia put on a democratic mask but was born as a huge economic opportunity: the partition of Russian assets by the State. People were handed out monopolies or quasi-monopolies, over which they 'rule', thus oligarchs. With Yeltsin, they became very visible, in effect ruling the whole roost. This is why the term stuck, and it did not in other countries where corrupt privatizations also took place.

    This system is controllable by a strong leader like Putin who hands out the goodies or cancels the concessions. It is a fine balancing act that cannot last long after Putin, but for now Putin rules the economic oligarchs. Apparently with some Russian common good in mind. 

    If the Russian government stays in power for only short periods of time like in the US, then the Russian economic 'oligarchs' will use their money to corrupt the public life away from any concern for the common good. Like your typical US 'billionaire' who originally became rich through economic competitiveness (and some government favors). The correct American term --now suspiciously not in use-- would be 'robber barons'. In the political sense, the U.S. is more of an oligarchy than Russia.

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  9. @reiner Tor
    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

    The reason why the first handful of Russian billionaires were called oligarchs was because they really had large political influence, arguably almost as large as President Yeltsin. Those few people amassed vast wealth for themselves, and held influential governmental positions as advisors or similar, controlled large portions of the media, financed major political parties, bribed politicians, and in general were above the law.

    Today Russian billionaires no longer have much political influence, if they control a media outlet, they wisely only support the Kremlin with it (since they understand it could be taken from them at a moment’s notice), and need to be loyal to the Kremlin to keep what they have. In short, they are no longer oligarchs.

    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never.

    Well there was a study a few years back that was widely reported as establishing that the US is an “oligarchy”, even though I understand the study itself didn’t use the term:

    Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy

    But it’s true that the term oligarch is usually pretty much reserved for Russians in the establishment media.

    It’s one of those quirks of establishment media groupthink (if you are naive/”grownup” about it) or US sphere propaganda (if you are cynical/”conspiracy theorist” about it), a bit like the consistent use of the term “regime” to refer only to a government regarded as illegitimate by US sphere media elites and usually one targeted for regime change by US sphere governments.

    Personally, I do occasionally use oligarch to refer to US billionaires, but I fairly consistently try to use the term regime for US sphere governments (especially the US itself) and government for the targeted and delegitimised governments, just out of sheer cussedness.

    I’ll try to use oligarch more consistently for US sphere billionaires in future, now that you’ve highlighted it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Singh
    It's the Slavic Authoritarianism or Oriental despot stereotype।।
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  10. @reiner Tor
    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

    The reason why the first handful of Russian billionaires were called oligarchs was because they really had large political influence, arguably almost as large as President Yeltsin. Those few people amassed vast wealth for themselves, and held influential governmental positions as advisors or similar, controlled large portions of the media, financed major political parties, bribed politicians, and in general were above the law.

    Today Russian billionaires no longer have much political influence, if they control a media outlet, they wisely only support the Kremlin with it (since they understand it could be taken from them at a moment’s notice), and need to be loyal to the Kremlin to keep what they have. In short, they are no longer oligarchs.

    if they control a media outlet, they wisely only support the Kremlin with it (since they understand it could be taken from them at a moment’s notice), and need to be loyal to the Kremlin to keep what they have. In short, they are no longer oligarchs.

    To add to what I said above.

    It would be easier to call politically connected ones, ‘Barons’, ‘Counts’ or ‘Boyars’. Loyalty to the state is an essential component – and when the state weakens they may start fighting amongst themselves, as during transition periods. The government also ‘makes’ loyal lieutenants – like Igor Sechin (you can look up his yacht and wife troubles) – which is de facto kind of ‘ennoblement’ in terms of the ‘bonuses’, not much different to when the monarch gave loyal allies some quantity of land and souls within as a reward for help in governing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Singh
    Almost seems like the present freedom ideology absolves the state of looking after the social welfare of the people & recent dysgenic trends mean they'd rather not bother.

    There's no enoblement without obligation & the people's happiness is found not just through gadgets. It's a huge burden to socially uplift the mass by fixing the family. The first country to do so will probably be wildly successful until it gets nuked।।
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  11. @Dmitry

    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

     

    It doesn't mean publicly open politics. In the FSU, things happen more behind closed doors compared to the West, and you often get rich because of your connections or involvement to the government, with various exceptions (some of whom are normal businessmen who have been added to this list).

    In the United States, if you look at people like Bezos, they operate through trying to change the public opinions. His newspaper Washington Post, tries to change public attitudes, which will then change voting patterns. It's a different kind of politics that goes through the public sphere. Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage (look how they give Skolkovo Innovation Center as a responsibility to Viktor Vekselberg, or Chukotka to be governed by Roman Abramovich) and have free space to meet with the government behind the scenes

    they operate through trying to change the public opinions… It’s a different kind of politics that goes through the public sphere. Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage

    Power is power. The reason you do not see it as being that blatant in the US because it is a part of the way establishment works. They get gov project and they do not do it via changing of public opinion. Legislations are written for them and by them. And yes, they control media.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Exactly. It's also the case that the US is a much more mature (and much bigger - twice the population) oligarchy than Russia. Its rulers come from or join, and are part of, a class that is well embedded over generations of stability and well versed in the games of the Republicrat charade and the evolving rules and techniques of "lobbying".

    Managing popular opinion is just part of the process for them.

    While many of the Russian oligarchs have elite Soviet origins, the whole system was overturned just a couple of decades ago and its replacement is still in the process of bedding in. A man like Putin can still change the rules fundamentally in a way Trump could only dream of doing.
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  12. Comments on the open thread are broken btw.

    Was gonna leave this comment there:

    The procurement thing is interesting||

    Father of a newborn boy would show the baby a sword and tell him this would be his only inheritance:

    V interesting. Saw this ISKON lady giving her Son a Sword in Moskva.

    Sick how the continum is there||

    Will you be doing an update for the CMP?

    The new procurement data should affect it greatly.

    Would you say China will move up a tier in the technology gap by 2020?

    Also, how do you think martial subfactions affect the overall quality of a military?

    https://swarajyamag.com/ideas/the-4th-indian-infantry-division-one-of-the-greatest-fighting-formations-in-military-history

    For example all of India’s officer corp & majority of its fighting men are from 3 or 4 Northwestern States.

    http://www.ssbcrack.com/2015/11/top-10-states-of-india-giving-officers-to-indian-army-navy-and-air-force.html

    All of the states there are in the North & more than half have 30million or less people; despite being the majority.

    Even among the others it will be Brahmin or Ksytria top to bottom rank||

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  13. @utu

    they operate through trying to change the public opinions... It’s a different kind of politics that goes through the public sphere. Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage
     
    Power is power. The reason you do not see it as being that blatant in the US because it is a part of the way establishment works. They get gov project and they do not do it via changing of public opinion. Legislations are written for them and by them. And yes, they control media.

    Exactly. It’s also the case that the US is a much more mature (and much bigger – twice the population) oligarchy than Russia. Its rulers come from or join, and are part of, a class that is well embedded over generations of stability and well versed in the games of the Republicrat charade and the evolving rules and techniques of “lobbying”.

    Managing popular opinion is just part of the process for them.

    While many of the Russian oligarchs have elite Soviet origins, the whole system was overturned just a couple of decades ago and its replacement is still in the process of bedding in. A man like Putin can still change the rules fundamentally in a way Trump could only dream of doing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Exactly. It’s also the case that the US is a much more mature (and much bigger – twice the population) oligarchy than Russia. Its rulers come from or join, and are part of, a class that is well embedded over generations of stability and well versed in the games of the Republicrat charade and the evolving rules and techniques of “lobbying”.

    Managing popular opinion is just part of the process for them.

    While many of the Russian oligarchs have elite Soviet origins, the whole system was overturned just a couple of decades ago and its replacement is still in the process of bedding in. A man like Putin can still change the rules fundamentally in a way Trump could only dream of doing.
     

    There's a couple things here. There's no doubt that in both countries, there is an element of being 'ruled with very rich people'. But there are also differences.

    In the case of Russia, the government or rulership of the country has more leverage over the very rich people, due to the fact that connections to authorities is what helped originally make (or at least protect( a larger proportion of their fortunes.

    The situation in Russia is that the very rich are more closely connected to the state, as necessary condition for their fortunes, and the state has more leverage over them for this reason. The very wealthy class become to some extent an additional branch of government (this is nothing new, and how Europe has been managed for many centuries, when the state would have alliances with the upper-class, who depended on them).

    The United States of America, a larger proportion of the 'very wealthy' are independent from any connection to the state, or any involvement with the government. The other side of the coin, is that the state does not have the same leverage or control over them. So the billionaires often have more independent power in the US, as they do not have same level of connection or control by government. Someone like Bezos can indeed buy the Washington Post and use it to try to take down the elected president of the country, without any repercussions for his business - when this was tried by Gusinsky in relation to the Kremlin, he got into trouble with the authorities in a short time.

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  14. @Dmitry

    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

     

    It doesn't mean publicly open politics. In the FSU, things happen more behind closed doors compared to the West, and you often get rich because of your connections or involvement to the government, with various exceptions (some of whom are normal businessmen who have been added to this list).

    In the United States, if you look at people like Bezos, they operate through trying to change the public opinions. His newspaper Washington Post, tries to change public attitudes, which will then change voting patterns. It's a different kind of politics that goes through the public sphere. Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage (look how they give Skolkovo Innovation Center as a responsibility to Viktor Vekselberg, or Chukotka to be governed by Roman Abramovich) and have free space to meet with the government behind the scenes

    Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage

    Bezos was literally given the project to provide cloud computing services for US spy agencies. Musk was literally given the job to provide rockets for secret spy satellites. Then you have the more traditional setups such as Cheneys infrastructure ventures. Lets not even mention Lockheed or Boeing, I am pretty sure you are aware how they operate.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Bezos was literally given the project to provide cloud computing services for US spy agencies.
     
    Amazon provides cloud computing services for a lot of governments, not just U.S. agencies, but it has nothing to do with some sort of nefarious, corrupt reasons of Bezos being in cahoots with a global cabal (or Elites with a capital E), but because its cloud computing services in capacity and expertise (and price) far overshadows its competitors.
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  15. How many on that list are jews? Am I right in assuming that it contains less jews than the American oligarchs, making it possible to create such a list in the first place.

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  16. @neutral

    Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage
     
    Bezos was literally given the project to provide cloud computing services for US spy agencies. Musk was literally given the job to provide rockets for secret spy satellites. Then you have the more traditional setups such as Cheneys infrastructure ventures. Lets not even mention Lockheed or Boeing, I am pretty sure you are aware how they operate.

    Bezos was literally given the project to provide cloud computing services for US spy agencies.

    Amazon provides cloud computing services for a lot of governments, not just U.S. agencies, but it has nothing to do with some sort of nefarious, corrupt reasons of Bezos being in cahoots with a global cabal (or Elites with a capital E), but because its cloud computing services in capacity and expertise (and price) far overshadows its competitors.

    Read More
    • Replies: @neutral
    Yeah, and buying the mouthpiece of the Deep State (Washington Post) also has nothing to do with anything, Bezos is just interested in business...

    Seriously, stop insulting everyones intelligence by claiming that there are no US oligarchs and that they have nothing to do with government.
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  17. @Dmitry

    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

     

    It doesn't mean publicly open politics. In the FSU, things happen more behind closed doors compared to the West, and you often get rich because of your connections or involvement to the government, with various exceptions (some of whom are normal businessmen who have been added to this list).

    In the United States, if you look at people like Bezos, they operate through trying to change the public opinions. His newspaper Washington Post, tries to change public attitudes, which will then change voting patterns. It's a different kind of politics that goes through the public sphere. Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage (look how they give Skolkovo Innovation Center as a responsibility to Viktor Vekselberg, or Chukotka to be governed by Roman Abramovich) and have free space to meet with the government behind the scenes

    The crucial difference is the level of transparency. That discourages egregiously corrupt behaviors on both ends (government-industry), and if someone persists, there is eventually a price to pay.

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  18. the American government bureaucracies – just like the Russian ones – are staffed by morons…

    So no, I’m not expecting any particular Kremlinological expertise from a culture where Russia experts who consider knowledge of Russian optional find guaranteed employment.

    I wouldn’t say they are morons. There are two things going on here. One, there is an extreme linguistic Anglo-centrism, because, well, English is the language of global commerce and international politics. In general, American bureaucrats are remarkably monolingual relative their levels of education, affluence, and training. Compared to Europeans, it is downright embarrassing. Even quite a few Japanese (!) foreign ministry staffers speak multiple languages! (But the overall English proficiency among DOMESTIC Japanese bureaucrats is quite poor.)

    Second, despite the global pretensions, American bureaucrats really only care much about certain cultural spheres/countries. You’d think that given the enormous importance of a rising China, loads of American bureaucrats would speak Mandarin Chinese. Nope. What about Germany, Japan, and Korea which the U.S. has occupied and then based troops in for decades? How many American bureaucrats speak German, Japanese, or Korean? Very few.

    And of course Russia was THE competitor state for half a decade. Russian speakers? Some, but not nearly as many as one would imagine when Russia-related matters were deemed those of national life and death.

    But you will find comparatively many more Spanish and French speakers. Add to that Great Britain, which requires no new language training, and you realize quickly what matters to American bureaucrats in the end. What’s interesting here is that that cultural preference really hasn’t changed since the late 18th century! That is some remarkably enduring preference.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    If you know several languages, you are multilingual, if you know two languages, you are bilingual, and if you know only one language, you are American.
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  19. @Twinkie

    Bezos was literally given the project to provide cloud computing services for US spy agencies.
     
    Amazon provides cloud computing services for a lot of governments, not just U.S. agencies, but it has nothing to do with some sort of nefarious, corrupt reasons of Bezos being in cahoots with a global cabal (or Elites with a capital E), but because its cloud computing services in capacity and expertise (and price) far overshadows its competitors.

    Yeah, and buying the mouthpiece of the Deep State (Washington Post) also has nothing to do with anything, Bezos is just interested in business…

    Seriously, stop insulting everyones intelligence by claiming that there are no US oligarchs and that they have nothing to do with government.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie
    “Neutral,” meet straw man.
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  20. 2. We are doing this for formality’s sake. Don’t worry, nothing will come of it.

    The people responsible for this list seem to push this narrative.

    3. We outsourced it to some lazy intern, because we don’t give a shit about this (in other words, #2).

    These names reveal how dated and obsolete the US intelligence is on these targets. Shamalov, the second last of these names, is widely understood to have lost most of his assets after the collapse of his marriage with Putin’s daughter, Katerina. The last name, the former head of Russian Railways, was once very close to Putin; the story of his expulsion from the inner circle can be read here. The US Government’s intelligence services apparently failed to read it. They also cannot get his first name right, as he is listed at No. 94 as “Vadim Yakunin.”

    http://johnhelmer.net/us-government-riddle-why-are-so-many-dogs-not-barking-because-the-caatsa-got-their-tongues/#more-18618

    That begs the question why some names were omitted.

    Three names are missing from the state officials’ list – Anatoly Chubais, head of Rusnano, the state technology holding; Alexei Kudrin of the Kremlin Expert Council; and Mikhail Abyzov, Minister of Open Government. For the record of their closeness to US plans for regime change in Moscow, start here.

    A fourth name missing from the state officials’ list is Sergei Frank, head of the state shipping company Sovcomflot; his corrupt closeness to the Kremlin has been testified to in a decade of court cases in the UK. For Frank’s record, including his relationship with the US oil company Chevron, click to read. The omission of Frank on the Treasury listing is odd because his counterparts at the head of Aeroflot, the state airline; the state aerospace manufacturer, United Aircraft Corporation; Russian Railways; and Transneft, the state oil pipeline company are all included by name.

    http://johnhelmer.net/us-government-riddle-why-are-so-many-dogs-not-barking-because-the-caatsa-got-their-tongues/#more-18618

    Comment by Medvedev

    Я думаю, это та ситуация, когда непопадание в этот список — это повод уволиться.

    https://www.bfm.ru/news/376273

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  21. @Dmitry

    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

     

    It doesn't mean publicly open politics. In the FSU, things happen more behind closed doors compared to the West, and you often get rich because of your connections or involvement to the government, with various exceptions (some of whom are normal businessmen who have been added to this list).

    In the United States, if you look at people like Bezos, they operate through trying to change the public opinions. His newspaper Washington Post, tries to change public attitudes, which will then change voting patterns. It's a different kind of politics that goes through the public sphere. Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage (look how they give Skolkovo Innovation Center as a responsibility to Viktor Vekselberg, or Chukotka to be governed by Roman Abramovich) and have free space to meet with the government behind the scenes

    Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage (look how they give Skolkovo Innovation Center as a responsibility to Viktor Vekselberg, or Chukotka to be governed by Roman Abramovich) and have free space to meet with the government behind the scenes

    Why would Abramovich need official jobs in Chukotka to meet with the government behind the scenes?
    He was already an important guy, and Chukotka did cost him money.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Why would Abramovich need official jobs in Chukotka to meet with the government behind the scenes?
    He was already an important guy, and Chukotka did cost him money.
     
    They gave it as a way to make him payback to the state - so it's a position he did not want. But it's like a game around court - positions and contracts are thrown around in return for favours, as a favour, or as a way to make people payback the government for past favours. Probably the better terminology than 'oligarch', would be to call this class of rich people with connections, as 'Barons', or 'Counts', as they are given involvement in ruling and managing the country.
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  22. @Twinkie

    the American government bureaucracies – just like the Russian ones – are staffed by morons...

    So no, I’m not expecting any particular Kremlinological expertise from a culture where Russia experts who consider knowledge of Russian optional find guaranteed employment.
     
    I wouldn't say they are morons. There are two things going on here. One, there is an extreme linguistic Anglo-centrism, because, well, English is the language of global commerce and international politics. In general, American bureaucrats are remarkably monolingual relative their levels of education, affluence, and training. Compared to Europeans, it is downright embarrassing. Even quite a few Japanese (!) foreign ministry staffers speak multiple languages! (But the overall English proficiency among DOMESTIC Japanese bureaucrats is quite poor.)

    Second, despite the global pretensions, American bureaucrats really only care much about certain cultural spheres/countries. You'd think that given the enormous importance of a rising China, loads of American bureaucrats would speak Mandarin Chinese. Nope. What about Germany, Japan, and Korea which the U.S. has occupied and then based troops in for decades? How many American bureaucrats speak German, Japanese, or Korean? Very few.

    And of course Russia was THE competitor state for half a decade. Russian speakers? Some, but not nearly as many as one would imagine when Russia-related matters were deemed those of national life and death.

    But you will find comparatively many more Spanish and French speakers. Add to that Great Britain, which requires no new language training, and you realize quickly what matters to American bureaucrats in the end. What's interesting here is that that cultural preference really hasn't changed since the late 18th century! That is some remarkably enduring preference.

    If you know several languages, you are multilingual, if you know two languages, you are bilingual, and if you know only one language, you are American.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie
    The retort is that if you are an American, you don’t need to speak any other language.
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  23. @Mitleser
    If you know several languages, you are multilingual, if you know two languages, you are bilingual, and if you know only one language, you are American.

    The retort is that if you are an American, you don’t need to speak any other language.

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  24. @neutral
    Yeah, and buying the mouthpiece of the Deep State (Washington Post) also has nothing to do with anything, Bezos is just interested in business...

    Seriously, stop insulting everyones intelligence by claiming that there are no US oligarchs and that they have nothing to do with government.

    “Neutral,” meet straw man.

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  25. @Anatoly Karlin
    You are entirely correct. Strictly speaking, American billionaires are closer to the definition of "oligarch" than are "Russian oligarchs", ironically enough. People like Soros, the Kochs, Bezos, Mercer, etc. have far more influence over American politics than their Russian equivalents.

    This is a trope that I myself try to avoid, but it is difficult to completely escape the frame created by the Western media entirely.

    In fairness, it's not an entirely unjustified trope, in the sense that "oligarch" has pejorative associations. Decry them as you want, but on average, the Russian super-rich are far nastier, scummier, and less deserving than their American counterparts, who at least predominantly got where they are by building value instead of stealing it.

    Ruchir Sharma book Economic growth in post crisis world explores this.

    Basically America Taiwan Japan have billionaires mostly in tech/manufacturing. This leads to congenital social relations with billionaires able to move around unguarded.

    In contrast Latin America but especially Russia India where most are natural resource billionaires, have the favela vs fortress culture.

    This is because tech fortunes are due to innovation while coal/oil fortunes due to connections to secure licenses; corruption, essentially.

    America has a good mix of good and bad billionaires I should add while the E Asian Tigers are all predominantly good।।

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    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    In contrast Latin America but especially Russia India where most are natural resource billionaires, have the favela vs fortress culture.
     
    Russia definitely does not have a 'favela vs fortress' culture. Russia is basically Sweden or Finland, except shabbier.
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  26. @Randal

    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never.
     
    Well there was a study a few years back that was widely reported as establishing that the US is an "oligarchy", even though I understand the study itself didn't use the term:

    Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy

    But it's true that the term oligarch is usually pretty much reserved for Russians in the establishment media.

    It's one of those quirks of establishment media groupthink (if you are naive/"grownup" about it) or US sphere propaganda (if you are cynical/"conspiracy theorist" about it), a bit like the consistent use of the term "regime" to refer only to a government regarded as illegitimate by US sphere media elites and usually one targeted for regime change by US sphere governments.

    Personally, I do occasionally use oligarch to refer to US billionaires, but I fairly consistently try to use the term regime for US sphere governments (especially the US itself) and government for the targeted and delegitimised governments, just out of sheer cussedness.

    I'll try to use oligarch more consistently for US sphere billionaires in future, now that you've highlighted it.

    It’s the Slavic Authoritarianism or Oriental despot stereotype।।

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  27. @Dmitry

    if they control a media outlet, they wisely only support the Kremlin with it (since they understand it could be taken from them at a moment’s notice), and need to be loyal to the Kremlin to keep what they have. In short, they are no longer oligarchs.
     
    To add to what I said above.

    It would be easier to call politically connected ones, 'Barons', 'Counts' or 'Boyars'. Loyalty to the state is an essential component - and when the state weakens they may start fighting amongst themselves, as during transition periods. The government also 'makes' loyal lieutenants - like Igor Sechin (you can look up his yacht and wife troubles) - which is de facto kind of 'ennoblement' in terms of the 'bonuses', not much different to when the monarch gave loyal allies some quantity of land and souls within as a reward for help in governing.

    Almost seems like the present freedom ideology absolves the state of looking after the social welfare of the people & recent dysgenic trends mean they’d rather not bother.

    There’s no enoblement without obligation & the people’s happiness is found not just through gadgets. It’s a huge burden to socially uplift the mass by fixing the family. The first country to do so will probably be wildly successful until it gets nuked।।

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  28. @Mitleser

    Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage (look how they give Skolkovo Innovation Center as a responsibility to Viktor Vekselberg, or Chukotka to be governed by Roman Abramovich) and have free space to meet with the government behind the scenes
     
    Why would Abramovich need official jobs in Chukotka to meet with the government behind the scenes?
    He was already an important guy, and Chukotka did cost him money.

    Why would Abramovich need official jobs in Chukotka to meet with the government behind the scenes?
    He was already an important guy, and Chukotka did cost him money.

    They gave it as a way to make him payback to the state – so it’s a position he did not want. But it’s like a game around court – positions and contracts are thrown around in return for favours, as a favour, or as a way to make people payback the government for past favours. Probably the better terminology than ‘oligarch’, would be to call this class of rich people with connections, as ‘Barons’, or ‘Counts’, as they are given involvement in ruling and managing the country.

    Read More
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  29. @Singh
    Ruchir Sharma book Economic growth in post crisis world explores this.

    Basically America Taiwan Japan have billionaires mostly in tech/manufacturing. This leads to congenital social relations with billionaires able to move around unguarded.

    In contrast Latin America but especially Russia India where most are natural resource billionaires, have the favela vs fortress culture.

    This is because tech fortunes are due to innovation while coal/oil fortunes due to connections to secure licenses; corruption, essentially.

    America has a good mix of good and bad billionaires I should add while the E Asian Tigers are all predominantly good।।

    In contrast Latin America but especially Russia India where most are natural resource billionaires, have the favela vs fortress culture.

    Russia definitely does not have a ‘favela vs fortress’ culture. Russia is basically Sweden or Finland, except shabbier.

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    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
    Sweden and Finland are extreme examples of stabilized oligarchies where most of the wealth has been controlled by a small set of families for centuries. Russia with its oligarchy that arose in the past few decades is the complete opposite.

    Even the famed "egalitarian" model of Sweden is designed to stabilize the oligarchy. For example, while Sweden has some of the highest progressive income tax rates in the world, it has rather low capital gains taxation and no inheritance tax. The ownership class is completely unaffected by Swedish "socialism" as they they get their income through capital gains which are not subject to the harsh, progressive taxation regime. The class that's suppressed hardest by the taxation regime are the highest earning professionals - the potential competitors to the already established elites.

    Sweden has some of the highest income equality in the developed world but it also has some of the highest wealth inequality. The system makes it very difficult to accumulate wealth and but it protects wealth for those who have already acquired lots of it. In Russia the oligarchy is new, the state hasn't yet been completely designed to serve an old ownership class and politicians (well, Putin) can still defy the oligarchs and win.
    , @Ali Choudhury
    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?

    There are no favelas in Russia but it is a very unequal, corrupt society dominated by rent-seeking industries like oil. Unlike Sweden where the billionaire class makes the bulk of its money abroad in competitive industries like furniture and fashion. It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.That is practically how one is canonised in the USA.

    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Russia definitely does not have a ‘favela vs fortress’ culture. Russia is basically Sweden or Finland, except shabbier.
     
    It's really in between.

    There's no skyscraper vs. shantytown scenes in Russia, anywhere. OTOH, gated communities for the rich *are* a thing in Russia, like in the US and unlike Western Europe.
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  30. @Randal
    Exactly. It's also the case that the US is a much more mature (and much bigger - twice the population) oligarchy than Russia. Its rulers come from or join, and are part of, a class that is well embedded over generations of stability and well versed in the games of the Republicrat charade and the evolving rules and techniques of "lobbying".

    Managing popular opinion is just part of the process for them.

    While many of the Russian oligarchs have elite Soviet origins, the whole system was overturned just a couple of decades ago and its replacement is still in the process of bedding in. A man like Putin can still change the rules fundamentally in a way Trump could only dream of doing.

    Exactly. It’s also the case that the US is a much more mature (and much bigger – twice the population) oligarchy than Russia. Its rulers come from or join, and are part of, a class that is well embedded over generations of stability and well versed in the games of the Republicrat charade and the evolving rules and techniques of “lobbying”.

    Managing popular opinion is just part of the process for them.

    While many of the Russian oligarchs have elite Soviet origins, the whole system was overturned just a couple of decades ago and its replacement is still in the process of bedding in. A man like Putin can still change the rules fundamentally in a way Trump could only dream of doing.

    There’s a couple things here. There’s no doubt that in both countries, there is an element of being ‘ruled with very rich people’. But there are also differences.

    In the case of Russia, the government or rulership of the country has more leverage over the very rich people, due to the fact that connections to authorities is what helped originally make (or at least protect( a larger proportion of their fortunes.

    The situation in Russia is that the very rich are more closely connected to the state, as necessary condition for their fortunes, and the state has more leverage over them for this reason. The very wealthy class become to some extent an additional branch of government (this is nothing new, and how Europe has been managed for many centuries, when the state would have alliances with the upper-class, who depended on them).

    The United States of America, a larger proportion of the ‘very wealthy’ are independent from any connection to the state, or any involvement with the government. The other side of the coin, is that the state does not have the same leverage or control over them. So the billionaires often have more independent power in the US, as they do not have same level of connection or control by government. Someone like Bezos can indeed buy the Washington Post and use it to try to take down the elected president of the country, without any repercussions for his business – when this was tried by Gusinsky in relation to the Kremlin, he got into trouble with the authorities in a short time.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    independent from any connection to the state, or any involvement with the government
     
    I agree there is something to it, but it’s not the whole story. For example interestingly companies like Facebook or Google do have some connection to the state, being in some sense arms of the intelligence services.

    Wherever the government of a high IQ country found it important to keep them away from the local market (China, Russia), it managed to do so, which shows that maybe a lot of their power comes from being first to lock up a market with high barriers to entry. In other words, while no doubt Zuckerberg or Page were talented businessmen, a large portion of their success depended on luck. Better than cronyism, but still.

    Interestingly, the leading Hungarian social network (an indigenous network sold to Deutsche Telekom in 2006 before Facebook became really big) didn’t receive much funding for years, which meant that the website was freezing often in 2006-7 (despite being owned by a multinational and being extremely popular), and it was difficult to join it (invitation only, with highly limited number of invitations per user) for this very reason. Essentially, the company operating it didn’t really want it to expand. It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to wonder why.

    There is, of course, the explanation of incompetence. They basically thought that they bought a huge and valuable database (consisting of over a third of the Hungarian population, most with real names and connections) for peanuts, and never thought about the potential to make more money from it. Who knows?
    , @utu

    when this was tried by Gusinsky in relation to the Kremlin, he got into trouble with the authorities in a short time.
     
    I am sure one can find analogs in the US. For example how maverick and uncontrollable Ted Turner lost control of his network. He seemed to be very resentful about it but it is hard to believe that it was not happening w/o his acquiescence as the trick they played on him was elementary. Was he threatened that he acquiesced? Or another example is how Bill Gates was resisting allusions that he should "share" his wealth. Eventually he got the hint when during Clinton administration there were talks about invoking anti-trust laws to partition Microsoft. So finally Bill Gates started huge foundation to share his wealth on causes to the liking of the world elites w/o any potential of rocking the boat. The East Coast elites were always suspicious of young Silicon Valley elites that they might get some wild ideas and start rocking the boat of the system.
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  31. @Dmitry

    Exactly. It’s also the case that the US is a much more mature (and much bigger – twice the population) oligarchy than Russia. Its rulers come from or join, and are part of, a class that is well embedded over generations of stability and well versed in the games of the Republicrat charade and the evolving rules and techniques of “lobbying”.

    Managing popular opinion is just part of the process for them.

    While many of the Russian oligarchs have elite Soviet origins, the whole system was overturned just a couple of decades ago and its replacement is still in the process of bedding in. A man like Putin can still change the rules fundamentally in a way Trump could only dream of doing.
     

    There's a couple things here. There's no doubt that in both countries, there is an element of being 'ruled with very rich people'. But there are also differences.

    In the case of Russia, the government or rulership of the country has more leverage over the very rich people, due to the fact that connections to authorities is what helped originally make (or at least protect( a larger proportion of their fortunes.

    The situation in Russia is that the very rich are more closely connected to the state, as necessary condition for their fortunes, and the state has more leverage over them for this reason. The very wealthy class become to some extent an additional branch of government (this is nothing new, and how Europe has been managed for many centuries, when the state would have alliances with the upper-class, who depended on them).

    The United States of America, a larger proportion of the 'very wealthy' are independent from any connection to the state, or any involvement with the government. The other side of the coin, is that the state does not have the same leverage or control over them. So the billionaires often have more independent power in the US, as they do not have same level of connection or control by government. Someone like Bezos can indeed buy the Washington Post and use it to try to take down the elected president of the country, without any repercussions for his business - when this was tried by Gusinsky in relation to the Kremlin, he got into trouble with the authorities in a short time.

    independent from any connection to the state, or any involvement with the government

    I agree there is something to it, but it’s not the whole story. For example interestingly companies like Facebook or Google do have some connection to the state, being in some sense arms of the intelligence services.

    Wherever the government of a high IQ country found it important to keep them away from the local market (China, Russia), it managed to do so, which shows that maybe a lot of their power comes from being first to lock up a market with high barriers to entry. In other words, while no doubt Zuckerberg or Page were talented businessmen, a large portion of their success depended on luck. Better than cronyism, but still.

    Interestingly, the leading Hungarian social network (an indigenous network sold to Deutsche Telekom in 2006 before Facebook became really big) didn’t receive much funding for years, which meant that the website was freezing often in 2006-7 (despite being owned by a multinational and being extremely popular), and it was difficult to join it (invitation only, with highly limited number of invitations per user) for this very reason. Essentially, the company operating it didn’t really want it to expand. It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to wonder why.

    There is, of course, the explanation of incompetence. They basically thought that they bought a huge and valuable database (consisting of over a third of the Hungarian population, most with real names and connections) for peanuts, and never thought about the potential to make more money from it. Who knows?

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  32. @anonymous coward

    In contrast Latin America but especially Russia India where most are natural resource billionaires, have the favela vs fortress culture.
     
    Russia definitely does not have a 'favela vs fortress' culture. Russia is basically Sweden or Finland, except shabbier.

    Sweden and Finland are extreme examples of stabilized oligarchies where most of the wealth has been controlled by a small set of families for centuries. Russia with its oligarchy that arose in the past few decades is the complete opposite.

    Even the famed “egalitarian” model of Sweden is designed to stabilize the oligarchy. For example, while Sweden has some of the highest progressive income tax rates in the world, it has rather low capital gains taxation and no inheritance tax. The ownership class is completely unaffected by Swedish “socialism” as they they get their income through capital gains which are not subject to the harsh, progressive taxation regime. The class that’s suppressed hardest by the taxation regime are the highest earning professionals – the potential competitors to the already established elites.

    Sweden has some of the highest income equality in the developed world but it also has some of the highest wealth inequality. The system makes it very difficult to accumulate wealth and but it protects wealth for those who have already acquired lots of it. In Russia the oligarchy is new, the state hasn’t yet been completely designed to serve an old ownership class and politicians (well, Putin) can still defy the oligarchs and win.

    Read More
    • Agree: Twinkie, Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    I loved Finland when I lived there, but I could not imagine how anyone could find the wage structure and restrictions to be anything but stifling. All Finnish businessmen found loopholes as you mentioned and most of the youth seemed to want to either live elsewhere or gave up and wanted live on Kela forever.

    The Swedish I knew were different and much more outgoing, but the desire to make money online and evade taxable streams of income seemed like a norm, too. But overall, much more lively.
    , @Beckow
    I have noticed the same thing when interacting with Sweden - assets are protected, new income is discouraged by taxation.

    This system has uncanny similarity to some Medieval economies where assets and wealth were not taxed (feudal lands), but work, businesses and trade were heavily taxed (cities, peasants). The reason I find it significant is that when we go back to feudal Middle Ages we see a society that was most openly designed and managed for the benefit of the elite rich. They literally owned the 'government' at that time. So it tells us a lot about how super rich behave when they design a society to be optimised for themselves.

    So much for Nordic 'socialism'. I can see why Swedish elites love the mess created by multi-culturalism, migrants, crime, etc... it keeps the peasants distracted and busy.
    , @Johann Ricke

    Even the famed “egalitarian” model of Sweden is designed to stabilize the oligarchy. For example, while Sweden has some of the highest progressive income tax rates in the world, it has rather low capital gains taxation and no inheritance tax. The ownership class is completely unaffected by Swedish “socialism” as they they get their income through capital gains which are not subject to the harsh, progressive taxation regime.
     
    Except the tax was only abolished in 2005, possibly to lure Ikea's chief, the tax refugee, back.
    , @AP
    Fascinating. Is Denmark organized the same way?
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  33. @Jaakko Raipala
    Sweden and Finland are extreme examples of stabilized oligarchies where most of the wealth has been controlled by a small set of families for centuries. Russia with its oligarchy that arose in the past few decades is the complete opposite.

    Even the famed "egalitarian" model of Sweden is designed to stabilize the oligarchy. For example, while Sweden has some of the highest progressive income tax rates in the world, it has rather low capital gains taxation and no inheritance tax. The ownership class is completely unaffected by Swedish "socialism" as they they get their income through capital gains which are not subject to the harsh, progressive taxation regime. The class that's suppressed hardest by the taxation regime are the highest earning professionals - the potential competitors to the already established elites.

    Sweden has some of the highest income equality in the developed world but it also has some of the highest wealth inequality. The system makes it very difficult to accumulate wealth and but it protects wealth for those who have already acquired lots of it. In Russia the oligarchy is new, the state hasn't yet been completely designed to serve an old ownership class and politicians (well, Putin) can still defy the oligarchs and win.

    I loved Finland when I lived there, but I could not imagine how anyone could find the wage structure and restrictions to be anything but stifling. All Finnish businessmen found loopholes as you mentioned and most of the youth seemed to want to either live elsewhere or gave up and wanted live on Kela forever.

    The Swedish I knew were different and much more outgoing, but the desire to make money online and evade taxable streams of income seemed like a norm, too. But overall, much more lively.

    Read More
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  34. @Jaakko Raipala
    Sweden and Finland are extreme examples of stabilized oligarchies where most of the wealth has been controlled by a small set of families for centuries. Russia with its oligarchy that arose in the past few decades is the complete opposite.

    Even the famed "egalitarian" model of Sweden is designed to stabilize the oligarchy. For example, while Sweden has some of the highest progressive income tax rates in the world, it has rather low capital gains taxation and no inheritance tax. The ownership class is completely unaffected by Swedish "socialism" as they they get their income through capital gains which are not subject to the harsh, progressive taxation regime. The class that's suppressed hardest by the taxation regime are the highest earning professionals - the potential competitors to the already established elites.

    Sweden has some of the highest income equality in the developed world but it also has some of the highest wealth inequality. The system makes it very difficult to accumulate wealth and but it protects wealth for those who have already acquired lots of it. In Russia the oligarchy is new, the state hasn't yet been completely designed to serve an old ownership class and politicians (well, Putin) can still defy the oligarchs and win.

    I have noticed the same thing when interacting with Sweden – assets are protected, new income is discouraged by taxation.

    This system has uncanny similarity to some Medieval economies where assets and wealth were not taxed (feudal lands), but work, businesses and trade were heavily taxed (cities, peasants). The reason I find it significant is that when we go back to feudal Middle Ages we see a society that was most openly designed and managed for the benefit of the elite rich. They literally owned the ‘government’ at that time. So it tells us a lot about how super rich behave when they design a society to be optimised for themselves.

    So much for Nordic ‘socialism’. I can see why Swedish elites love the mess created by multi-culturalism, migrants, crime, etc… it keeps the peasants distracted and busy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    This system has uncanny similarity to some Medieval economies where assets and wealth were not taxed (feudal lands), but work, businesses and trade were heavily taxed (cities, peasants).
     
    The present system is indeed shamefully tilted toward property owners, but most people predict property taxes to be raised quite a bit in the near future. That goes for payroll taxes too, though, so it's unlikely to make much of a difference.
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  35. @anonymous coward

    In contrast Latin America but especially Russia India where most are natural resource billionaires, have the favela vs fortress culture.
     
    Russia definitely does not have a 'favela vs fortress' culture. Russia is basically Sweden or Finland, except shabbier.

    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?

    There are no favelas in Russia but it is a very unequal, corrupt society dominated by rent-seeking industries like oil. Unlike Sweden where the billionaire class makes the bulk of its money abroad in competitive industries like furniture and fashion. It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.That is practically how one is canonised in the USA.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?
     
    As far I know -- zero bodyguards. Maybe there are exceptions, but I don't know about any.

    Russian billionaires don't need bodyguards since they are well-provided by a highly functioning and efficient repression machine of the state.

    There are no favelas in Russia but it is a very unequal, corrupt society dominated by rent-seeking industries like oil.
     
    It's not "very corrupt", at least on a global scale. The USA is more corrupt and unequal than Russia.

    Unlike Sweden where the billionaire class makes the bulk of its money abroad in competitive industries like furniture and fashion.
     
    Furniture and fashion is actually a lot less competitive as an industry when compared to digging oil out Arctic soil and shipping it to another hemisphere.

    Russia is not Saudi Arabia. The only reason why Russia sells oil is because the USSR once spent a moon-landing comparable sum of money setting up infrastructure for digging it out.

    It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.
     
    "Celebratory movies" is an American thing. I can't imagine a Russian "celebratory movie" about any topic, much less such a controversial one.
    , @reiner Tor
    There are the founders of Yandex and Kaspersky. Tech billionaires.

    By the way, you can make a celebratory movie about Comrade Beria, if you wish to do so. I don’t think Zuckerberg or Jobs are/were exemplary human specimens to celebrate them. They just made movies about them. They also made a movie about Jordan Belfort.
    , @Swedish Family

    It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.That is practically how one is canonised in the USA.
     
    Well, there is Олигарх (https://www.kinopoisk.ru/film/oligarkh-2002-38795/), loosely based on the life of Boris Berezovsky (rumor had it that he even helped finance it), and maybe also Пирамммида (https://www.kinopoisk.ru/film/pirammmida-2011-464942/), about Ponzi schemer Sergei Mavrodi.
    , @Chet Bradley

    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?
     
    Unless you know how many bodyguards Buffet and Gates have, and I doubt you do, how can you make a comparison?
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  36. @Beckow
    I have noticed the same thing when interacting with Sweden - assets are protected, new income is discouraged by taxation.

    This system has uncanny similarity to some Medieval economies where assets and wealth were not taxed (feudal lands), but work, businesses and trade were heavily taxed (cities, peasants). The reason I find it significant is that when we go back to feudal Middle Ages we see a society that was most openly designed and managed for the benefit of the elite rich. They literally owned the 'government' at that time. So it tells us a lot about how super rich behave when they design a society to be optimised for themselves.

    So much for Nordic 'socialism'. I can see why Swedish elites love the mess created by multi-culturalism, migrants, crime, etc... it keeps the peasants distracted and busy.

    This system has uncanny similarity to some Medieval economies where assets and wealth were not taxed (feudal lands), but work, businesses and trade were heavily taxed (cities, peasants).

    The present system is indeed shamefully tilted toward property owners, but most people predict property taxes to be raised quite a bit in the near future. That goes for payroll taxes too, though, so it’s unlikely to make much of a difference.

    Read More
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  37. @Ali Choudhury
    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?

    There are no favelas in Russia but it is a very unequal, corrupt society dominated by rent-seeking industries like oil. Unlike Sweden where the billionaire class makes the bulk of its money abroad in competitive industries like furniture and fashion. It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.That is practically how one is canonised in the USA.

    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?

    As far I know — zero bodyguards. Maybe there are exceptions, but I don’t know about any.

    Russian billionaires don’t need bodyguards since they are well-provided by a highly functioning and efficient repression machine of the state.

    There are no favelas in Russia but it is a very unequal, corrupt society dominated by rent-seeking industries like oil.

    It’s not “very corrupt”, at least on a global scale. The USA is more corrupt and unequal than Russia.

    Unlike Sweden where the billionaire class makes the bulk of its money abroad in competitive industries like furniture and fashion.

    Furniture and fashion is actually a lot less competitive as an industry when compared to digging oil out Arctic soil and shipping it to another hemisphere.

    Russia is not Saudi Arabia. The only reason why Russia sells oil is because the USSR once spent a moon-landing comparable sum of money setting up infrastructure for digging it out.

    It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.

    “Celebratory movies” is an American thing. I can’t imagine a Russian “celebratory movie” about any topic, much less such a controversial one.

    Read More
    • Replies: @neutral

    As far I know — zero bodyguards. Maybe there are exceptions, but I don’t know about any.
     
    Watch any clip featuring either Gates or Buffet wandering about in public and it is easy to spot a bunch of bodyguards with them.
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  38. @anonymous coward

    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?
     
    As far I know -- zero bodyguards. Maybe there are exceptions, but I don't know about any.

    Russian billionaires don't need bodyguards since they are well-provided by a highly functioning and efficient repression machine of the state.

    There are no favelas in Russia but it is a very unequal, corrupt society dominated by rent-seeking industries like oil.
     
    It's not "very corrupt", at least on a global scale. The USA is more corrupt and unequal than Russia.

    Unlike Sweden where the billionaire class makes the bulk of its money abroad in competitive industries like furniture and fashion.
     
    Furniture and fashion is actually a lot less competitive as an industry when compared to digging oil out Arctic soil and shipping it to another hemisphere.

    Russia is not Saudi Arabia. The only reason why Russia sells oil is because the USSR once spent a moon-landing comparable sum of money setting up infrastructure for digging it out.

    It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.
     
    "Celebratory movies" is an American thing. I can't imagine a Russian "celebratory movie" about any topic, much less such a controversial one.

    As far I know — zero bodyguards. Maybe there are exceptions, but I don’t know about any.

    Watch any clip featuring either Gates or Buffet wandering about in public and it is easy to spot a bunch of bodyguards with them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie
    Bill Gates got some grief from the media for showing up at a public swimming pool with his child without security.
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  39. @Ali Choudhury
    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?

    There are no favelas in Russia but it is a very unequal, corrupt society dominated by rent-seeking industries like oil. Unlike Sweden where the billionaire class makes the bulk of its money abroad in competitive industries like furniture and fashion. It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.That is practically how one is canonised in the USA.

    There are the founders of Yandex and Kaspersky. Tech billionaires.

    By the way, you can make a celebratory movie about Comrade Beria, if you wish to do so. I don’t think Zuckerberg or Jobs are/were exemplary human specimens to celebrate them. They just made movies about them. They also made a movie about Jordan Belfort.

    Read More
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  40. @neutral

    As far I know — zero bodyguards. Maybe there are exceptions, but I don’t know about any.
     
    Watch any clip featuring either Gates or Buffet wandering about in public and it is easy to spot a bunch of bodyguards with them.

    Bill Gates got some grief from the media for showing up at a public swimming pool with his child without security.

    Read More
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  41. Here is the much loved Zuckerberg jogging:

    Here are Gates and Buffet visiting a furniture store:

    Notice how at the beginning the propaganda being depicted is just two nice guys arriving without escorts, ready to do everyday man on the street normal stuff. This propaganda is clearly very effective because some people here seriously believe that is how these nice guy billionaires operate. Watch the rest of the video and spot the various bodyguards standing all over the place, and there are likely to be more not in the video, the propaganda obviously does not want to show bodyguards, but it becomes impossible if one has a battalion of bodyguards with you all the time.

    Also note that this is a furniture store in Nebraska, so hardly the most dangerous place one would think, yet a complete security blanket has been thrown over the entire store.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I don’t think it’s realistic to expect billionaires not to have security. The world is full of criminals, if word got out they had no security, someone might get the idea of targeting them. A furniture store in Nebraska seems like a good place for a kidnapping plot. Then there are the crazies: some crazy guys like murdering famous people, or just rich and successful people. It’s still unknown why Andrew Cunanan killed Versace.

    Swedish prime ministers used to walk around without security, until one of them was murdered. I hope it was a diverse murderer, because that prime minister was the one who first introduced diversity into Sweden. But it could have been some organized gang, or an intelligence service. Not necessarily something that could have been avoided, except by having bodyguards around.

    Then there’s the question of affordability. Billionaires could easily afford a 24/7 security entourage, so why not? Would you hire security if it was cheap, like 10% of your car’s maintenance costs? It’s very cheap for billionaires, they probably spend less than 1% of their income on it. While being likely targets.

    All important people have security entourages. Regardless of popularity. Like Putin, or Orbán, or Trump, or whoever.
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  42. @neutral
    Here is the much loved Zuckerberg jogging:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNBt3aCaIBg

    Here are Gates and Buffet visiting a furniture store:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsZ5L86s9Q8

    Notice how at the beginning the propaganda being depicted is just two nice guys arriving without escorts, ready to do everyday man on the street normal stuff. This propaganda is clearly very effective because some people here seriously believe that is how these nice guy billionaires operate. Watch the rest of the video and spot the various bodyguards standing all over the place, and there are likely to be more not in the video, the propaganda obviously does not want to show bodyguards, but it becomes impossible if one has a battalion of bodyguards with you all the time.

    Also note that this is a furniture store in Nebraska, so hardly the most dangerous place one would think, yet a complete security blanket has been thrown over the entire store.

    I don’t think it’s realistic to expect billionaires not to have security. The world is full of criminals, if word got out they had no security, someone might get the idea of targeting them. A furniture store in Nebraska seems like a good place for a kidnapping plot. Then there are the crazies: some crazy guys like murdering famous people, or just rich and successful people. It’s still unknown why Andrew Cunanan killed Versace.

    Swedish prime ministers used to walk around without security, until one of them was murdered. I hope it was a diverse murderer, because that prime minister was the one who first introduced diversity into Sweden. But it could have been some organized gang, or an intelligence service. Not necessarily something that could have been avoided, except by having bodyguards around.

    Then there’s the question of affordability. Billionaires could easily afford a 24/7 security entourage, so why not? Would you hire security if it was cheap, like 10% of your car’s maintenance costs? It’s very cheap for billionaires, they probably spend less than 1% of their income on it. While being likely targets.

    All important people have security entourages. Regardless of popularity. Like Putin, or Orbán, or Trump, or whoever.

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    • Replies: @neutral
    I am not against the idea of having bodyguards, I was responding to the idea (that others here mentioned) that there are American oligarchs that don't have bodyguards.
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  43. @Dmitry

    Exactly. It’s also the case that the US is a much more mature (and much bigger – twice the population) oligarchy than Russia. Its rulers come from or join, and are part of, a class that is well embedded over generations of stability and well versed in the games of the Republicrat charade and the evolving rules and techniques of “lobbying”.

    Managing popular opinion is just part of the process for them.

    While many of the Russian oligarchs have elite Soviet origins, the whole system was overturned just a couple of decades ago and its replacement is still in the process of bedding in. A man like Putin can still change the rules fundamentally in a way Trump could only dream of doing.
     

    There's a couple things here. There's no doubt that in both countries, there is an element of being 'ruled with very rich people'. But there are also differences.

    In the case of Russia, the government or rulership of the country has more leverage over the very rich people, due to the fact that connections to authorities is what helped originally make (or at least protect( a larger proportion of their fortunes.

    The situation in Russia is that the very rich are more closely connected to the state, as necessary condition for their fortunes, and the state has more leverage over them for this reason. The very wealthy class become to some extent an additional branch of government (this is nothing new, and how Europe has been managed for many centuries, when the state would have alliances with the upper-class, who depended on them).

    The United States of America, a larger proportion of the 'very wealthy' are independent from any connection to the state, or any involvement with the government. The other side of the coin, is that the state does not have the same leverage or control over them. So the billionaires often have more independent power in the US, as they do not have same level of connection or control by government. Someone like Bezos can indeed buy the Washington Post and use it to try to take down the elected president of the country, without any repercussions for his business - when this was tried by Gusinsky in relation to the Kremlin, he got into trouble with the authorities in a short time.

    when this was tried by Gusinsky in relation to the Kremlin, he got into trouble with the authorities in a short time.

    I am sure one can find analogs in the US. For example how maverick and uncontrollable Ted Turner lost control of his network. He seemed to be very resentful about it but it is hard to believe that it was not happening w/o his acquiescence as the trick they played on him was elementary. Was he threatened that he acquiesced? Or another example is how Bill Gates was resisting allusions that he should “share” his wealth. Eventually he got the hint when during Clinton administration there were talks about invoking anti-trust laws to partition Microsoft. So finally Bill Gates started huge foundation to share his wealth on causes to the liking of the world elites w/o any potential of rocking the boat. The East Coast elites were always suspicious of young Silicon Valley elites that they might get some wild ideas and start rocking the boat of the system.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The examples you cite are, even if true, much less heavy handed than the Russian way.
    , @Anon
    @ The situation in Russia is that the very rich are more closely connected to the state, as necessary condition for their fortunes, ..

    Yes of course. Modern Russian fortunes are the result of prior State's share of the economy, basically all. Under the 1990's privatization schemes, the govmnt ceded operational control but retained concessionary/regulatory powers. That process permitted both egregious corruption and eventual leverage power for a Putin-type strong man.

    The US economy evolved organically, with a democratic orientation to the common good, and to a small government, including government share of economy. Governmt regulation evolved organically. So sharp businessmen like Rickefeller or Bezos could rise to inmense wealth and then look to shape policy, or be curtailed through regulation oriented to the common good. (Breaking up of monopolies within the US but famously not outside).
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  44. @utu

    when this was tried by Gusinsky in relation to the Kremlin, he got into trouble with the authorities in a short time.
     
    I am sure one can find analogs in the US. For example how maverick and uncontrollable Ted Turner lost control of his network. He seemed to be very resentful about it but it is hard to believe that it was not happening w/o his acquiescence as the trick they played on him was elementary. Was he threatened that he acquiesced? Or another example is how Bill Gates was resisting allusions that he should "share" his wealth. Eventually he got the hint when during Clinton administration there were talks about invoking anti-trust laws to partition Microsoft. So finally Bill Gates started huge foundation to share his wealth on causes to the liking of the world elites w/o any potential of rocking the boat. The East Coast elites were always suspicious of young Silicon Valley elites that they might get some wild ideas and start rocking the boat of the system.

    The examples you cite are, even if true, much less heavy handed than the Russian way.

    Read More
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  45. @reiner Tor
    I don’t think it’s realistic to expect billionaires not to have security. The world is full of criminals, if word got out they had no security, someone might get the idea of targeting them. A furniture store in Nebraska seems like a good place for a kidnapping plot. Then there are the crazies: some crazy guys like murdering famous people, or just rich and successful people. It’s still unknown why Andrew Cunanan killed Versace.

    Swedish prime ministers used to walk around without security, until one of them was murdered. I hope it was a diverse murderer, because that prime minister was the one who first introduced diversity into Sweden. But it could have been some organized gang, or an intelligence service. Not necessarily something that could have been avoided, except by having bodyguards around.

    Then there’s the question of affordability. Billionaires could easily afford a 24/7 security entourage, so why not? Would you hire security if it was cheap, like 10% of your car’s maintenance costs? It’s very cheap for billionaires, they probably spend less than 1% of their income on it. While being likely targets.

    All important people have security entourages. Regardless of popularity. Like Putin, or Orbán, or Trump, or whoever.

    I am not against the idea of having bodyguards, I was responding to the idea (that others here mentioned) that there are American oligarchs that don’t have bodyguards.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I don't disagree, then.

    Another point is that security is probably cheaper in Russia. Wages are lower, and there's a steady supply of ex-soldiers, ex-special forces, ex-SWAT, ex-cops, etc. given the large size of Russia's armed forces and elite security services. They also don't speak much any languages but Russian, making their employment opportunities abroad limited. It's further limited by the fact that Russians might not be much trusted by Western elites. (Though they might be better trusted than, say, Americans, by rich people in places like Iran, the number of these places is limited anyway.) Wages and prices are lower in Russia anyway. So, you don't have to pay as much to a Russian bodyguard in Russia as to an American bodyguard in the US. So, probably at any given level of wealth and income, Russian billionaires are more likely to have a security entourage, and have a larger retinue than similarly wealthy Americans.

    Now it's also possible Russia is a lower trust and higher crime society, and so maybe they'll have more security even adjusting for the above mentioned factors, but it's difficult to know.
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  46. @neutral
    I am not against the idea of having bodyguards, I was responding to the idea (that others here mentioned) that there are American oligarchs that don't have bodyguards.

    I don’t disagree, then.

    Another point is that security is probably cheaper in Russia. Wages are lower, and there’s a steady supply of ex-soldiers, ex-special forces, ex-SWAT, ex-cops, etc. given the large size of Russia’s armed forces and elite security services. They also don’t speak much any languages but Russian, making their employment opportunities abroad limited. It’s further limited by the fact that Russians might not be much trusted by Western elites. (Though they might be better trusted than, say, Americans, by rich people in places like Iran, the number of these places is limited anyway.) Wages and prices are lower in Russia anyway. So, you don’t have to pay as much to a Russian bodyguard in Russia as to an American bodyguard in the US. So, probably at any given level of wealth and income, Russian billionaires are more likely to have a security entourage, and have a larger retinue than similarly wealthy Americans.

    Now it’s also possible Russia is a lower trust and higher crime society, and so maybe they’ll have more security even adjusting for the above mentioned factors, but it’s difficult to know.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    This is true. There are permanent security staff even in mid-sized supermarkets, malls, etc. Even though petty crime doesn't seem to be a big problem anymore.
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  47. @Ali Choudhury
    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?

    There are no favelas in Russia but it is a very unequal, corrupt society dominated by rent-seeking industries like oil. Unlike Sweden where the billionaire class makes the bulk of its money abroad in competitive industries like furniture and fashion. It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.That is practically how one is canonised in the USA.

    It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.That is practically how one is canonised in the USA.

    Well, there is Олигарх (https://www.kinopoisk.ru/film/oligarkh-2002-38795/), loosely based on the life of Boris Berezovsky (rumor had it that he even helped finance it), and maybe also Пирамммида (https://www.kinopoisk.ru/film/pirammmida-2011-464942/), about Ponzi schemer Sergei Mavrodi.

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    McMafia is well worth watching, an Israeli focus too.

    Having lived in Russia, and being half Swedish, those two countries are very similar in some ways, very different in others.
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  48. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Dmitry

    Interesting that Russian billionaires are always called “oligarchs,” while Americans are never. Regardless of political connections or influence.

     

    It doesn't mean publicly open politics. In the FSU, things happen more behind closed doors compared to the West, and you often get rich because of your connections or involvement to the government, with various exceptions (some of whom are normal businessmen who have been added to this list).

    In the United States, if you look at people like Bezos, they operate through trying to change the public opinions. His newspaper Washington Post, tries to change public attitudes, which will then change voting patterns. It's a different kind of politics that goes through the public sphere. Whereas billionaires in Russia can be literally given government projects to manage (look how they give Skolkovo Innovation Center as a responsibility to Viktor Vekselberg, or Chukotka to be governed by Roman Abramovich) and have free space to meet with the government behind the scenes

    Largely agree. Oligarchy traditionally meant a degraded form of government by a few ‘bad’ men who rule for their own interest and not for any common good. It was a political term.

    However, in modern parlance, oligarchs are those powerful men that got filthy rich by their know-who and not their business know-how. It denotes a type of businessman. Present day Russia put on a democratic mask but was born as a huge economic opportunity: the partition of Russian assets by the State. People were handed out monopolies or quasi-monopolies, over which they ‘rule’, thus oligarchs. With Yeltsin, they became very visible, in effect ruling the whole roost. This is why the term stuck, and it did not in other countries where corrupt privatizations also took place.

    This system is controllable by a strong leader like Putin who hands out the goodies or cancels the concessions. It is a fine balancing act that cannot last long after Putin, but for now Putin rules the economic oligarchs. Apparently with some Russian common good in mind. 

    If the Russian government stays in power for only short periods of time like in the US, then the Russian economic ‘oligarchs’ will use their money to corrupt the public life away from any concern for the common good. Like your typical US ‘billionaire’ who originally became rich through economic competitiveness (and some government favors). The correct American term –now suspiciously not in use– would be ‘robber barons’. In the political sense, the U.S. is more of an oligarchy than Russia.

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  49. @Swedish Family

    It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.That is practically how one is canonised in the USA.
     
    Well, there is Олигарх (https://www.kinopoisk.ru/film/oligarkh-2002-38795/), loosely based on the life of Boris Berezovsky (rumor had it that he even helped finance it), and maybe also Пирамммида (https://www.kinopoisk.ru/film/pirammmida-2011-464942/), about Ponzi schemer Sergei Mavrodi.

    McMafia is well worth watching, an Israeli focus too.

    Having lived in Russia, and being half Swedish, those two countries are very similar in some ways, very different in others.

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    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    McMafia is well worth watching, an Israeli focus too.
     
    Thanks for the recommendation. Will look it up!
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  50. @anonymous coward

    In contrast Latin America but especially Russia India where most are natural resource billionaires, have the favela vs fortress culture.
     
    Russia definitely does not have a 'favela vs fortress' culture. Russia is basically Sweden or Finland, except shabbier.

    Russia definitely does not have a ‘favela vs fortress’ culture. Russia is basically Sweden or Finland, except shabbier.

    It’s really in between.

    There’s no skyscraper vs. shantytown scenes in Russia, anywhere. OTOH, gated communities for the rich *are* a thing in Russia, like in the US and unlike Western Europe.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Russia is more like a shabbier America, rather than a shabbier Scandinavia.

    One could say that Russia was developing more like the USA and Poland more like western Europe in terms of income distribution and class structure as they left the Soviet system.
    , @anonymous coward

    OTOH, gated communities for the rich *are* a thing in Russia, like in the US and unlike Western Europe.
     
    Mostly correct, but not quite.

    Russia, for historical and geographic reasons, has a bizarre culture of fences. (Russians are aware and continually make fun of this.)

    Any plot of land that's not fenced in is considered to be no-man's land (fit for trespassing, littering, etc.), both in popular consciousness and by law.

    This means fences, even purely decorative fictitious ones, are literally everywhere. This also means that anyone, rich or poor, will put a a fence and gate around their house and/or their land.

    This isn't due to crime or low trust (these fences can't really keep anyone out), it's just a way of signaling ownership.

    The USA is different -- the "gated communities" in the USA are there to keep the Blacks out. The charade is needed because they decided to outlaw segregation somewhere along the way.

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  51. @reiner Tor
    I don't disagree, then.

    Another point is that security is probably cheaper in Russia. Wages are lower, and there's a steady supply of ex-soldiers, ex-special forces, ex-SWAT, ex-cops, etc. given the large size of Russia's armed forces and elite security services. They also don't speak much any languages but Russian, making their employment opportunities abroad limited. It's further limited by the fact that Russians might not be much trusted by Western elites. (Though they might be better trusted than, say, Americans, by rich people in places like Iran, the number of these places is limited anyway.) Wages and prices are lower in Russia anyway. So, you don't have to pay as much to a Russian bodyguard in Russia as to an American bodyguard in the US. So, probably at any given level of wealth and income, Russian billionaires are more likely to have a security entourage, and have a larger retinue than similarly wealthy Americans.

    Now it's also possible Russia is a lower trust and higher crime society, and so maybe they'll have more security even adjusting for the above mentioned factors, but it's difficult to know.

    This is true. There are permanent security staff even in mid-sized supermarkets, malls, etc. Even though petty crime doesn’t seem to be a big problem anymore.

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    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    This is true. There are permanent security staff even in mid-sized supermarkets, malls, etc.
     
    A Ukrainian acquaintance told me that these positions are typically staffed with people who can't get any other jobs. They hire you, no questions asked, hand you the uniform, and leave you to yourself. Still better than nothing, I guess.
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  52. @Ali Choudhury
    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?

    There are no favelas in Russia but it is a very unequal, corrupt society dominated by rent-seeking industries like oil. Unlike Sweden where the billionaire class makes the bulk of its money abroad in competitive industries like furniture and fashion. It would be hard to think of a Russian billionaire who could feasibly be featured in a celebratory movie about them.That is practically how one is canonised in the USA.

    How many bodyguards does the typical Russian billionaire have compared to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates etc?

    Unless you know how many bodyguards Buffet and Gates have, and I doubt you do, how can you make a comparison?

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  53. @LondonBob
    McMafia is well worth watching, an Israeli focus too.

    Having lived in Russia, and being half Swedish, those two countries are very similar in some ways, very different in others.

    McMafia is well worth watching, an Israeli focus too.

    Thanks for the recommendation. Will look it up!

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  54. @Anatoly Karlin
    This is true. There are permanent security staff even in mid-sized supermarkets, malls, etc. Even though petty crime doesn't seem to be a big problem anymore.

    This is true. There are permanent security staff even in mid-sized supermarkets, malls, etc.

    A Ukrainian acquaintance told me that these positions are typically staffed with people who can’t get any other jobs. They hire you, no questions asked, hand you the uniform, and leave you to yourself. Still better than nothing, I guess.

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  55. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @utu

    when this was tried by Gusinsky in relation to the Kremlin, he got into trouble with the authorities in a short time.
     
    I am sure one can find analogs in the US. For example how maverick and uncontrollable Ted Turner lost control of his network. He seemed to be very resentful about it but it is hard to believe that it was not happening w/o his acquiescence as the trick they played on him was elementary. Was he threatened that he acquiesced? Or another example is how Bill Gates was resisting allusions that he should "share" his wealth. Eventually he got the hint when during Clinton administration there were talks about invoking anti-trust laws to partition Microsoft. So finally Bill Gates started huge foundation to share his wealth on causes to the liking of the world elites w/o any potential of rocking the boat. The East Coast elites were always suspicious of young Silicon Valley elites that they might get some wild ideas and start rocking the boat of the system.

    @ The situation in Russia is that the very rich are more closely connected to the state, as necessary condition for their fortunes, ..

    Yes of course. Modern Russian fortunes are the result of prior State’s share of the economy, basically all. Under the 1990′s privatization schemes, the govmnt ceded operational control but retained concessionary/regulatory powers. That process permitted both egregious corruption and eventual leverage power for a Putin-type strong man.

    The US economy evolved organically, with a democratic orientation to the common good, and to a small government, including government share of economy. Governmt regulation evolved organically. So sharp businessmen like Rickefeller or Bezos could rise to inmense wealth and then look to shape policy, or be curtailed through regulation oriented to the common good. (Breaking up of monopolies within the US but famously not outside).

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Modern Russian fortunes are the result of prior State’s share of the economy, basically all.
     
    Not all, there are some second league billionaires like Kaspersky or Volozh who made their fortunes in a more or less legitimate way.
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  56. @Jaakko Raipala
    Sweden and Finland are extreme examples of stabilized oligarchies where most of the wealth has been controlled by a small set of families for centuries. Russia with its oligarchy that arose in the past few decades is the complete opposite.

    Even the famed "egalitarian" model of Sweden is designed to stabilize the oligarchy. For example, while Sweden has some of the highest progressive income tax rates in the world, it has rather low capital gains taxation and no inheritance tax. The ownership class is completely unaffected by Swedish "socialism" as they they get their income through capital gains which are not subject to the harsh, progressive taxation regime. The class that's suppressed hardest by the taxation regime are the highest earning professionals - the potential competitors to the already established elites.

    Sweden has some of the highest income equality in the developed world but it also has some of the highest wealth inequality. The system makes it very difficult to accumulate wealth and but it protects wealth for those who have already acquired lots of it. In Russia the oligarchy is new, the state hasn't yet been completely designed to serve an old ownership class and politicians (well, Putin) can still defy the oligarchs and win.

    Even the famed “egalitarian” model of Sweden is designed to stabilize the oligarchy. For example, while Sweden has some of the highest progressive income tax rates in the world, it has rather low capital gains taxation and no inheritance tax. The ownership class is completely unaffected by Swedish “socialism” as they they get their income through capital gains which are not subject to the harsh, progressive taxation regime.

    Except the tax was only abolished in 2005, possibly to lure Ikea’s chief, the tax refugee, back.

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  57. @Anatoly Karlin

    Russia definitely does not have a ‘favela vs fortress’ culture. Russia is basically Sweden or Finland, except shabbier.
     
    It's really in between.

    There's no skyscraper vs. shantytown scenes in Russia, anywhere. OTOH, gated communities for the rich *are* a thing in Russia, like in the US and unlike Western Europe.

    Russia is more like a shabbier America, rather than a shabbier Scandinavia.

    One could say that Russia was developing more like the USA and Poland more like western Europe in terms of income distribution and class structure as they left the Soviet system.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The problem with the “more equal” wealth and income distribution is the same as with communism: it’s not because the middle class is strong, but because there are no rich people, a huge chunk of the economy is owned by foreign firms. Though Poland is still better than Hungary in that respect, our economy is basically a subordinate extension of the German economy. We sold everything for peanuts (like the flagship telecom company, the utilities firms, the banks, etc.), though at least some German firms built something (like Audi or Mercedes) instead of buying up something valuable cheap.

    Still the “richest Hungarians” are essentially the foreign shareholders of these companies. The profit repatriation was a higher share of GDP than the EU subventions.
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  58. @AP
    Russia is more like a shabbier America, rather than a shabbier Scandinavia.

    One could say that Russia was developing more like the USA and Poland more like western Europe in terms of income distribution and class structure as they left the Soviet system.

    The problem with the “more equal” wealth and income distribution is the same as with communism: it’s not because the middle class is strong, but because there are no rich people, a huge chunk of the economy is owned by foreign firms. Though Poland is still better than Hungary in that respect, our economy is basically a subordinate extension of the German economy. We sold everything for peanuts (like the flagship telecom company, the utilities firms, the banks, etc.), though at least some German firms built something (like Audi or Mercedes) instead of buying up something valuable cheap.

    Still the “richest Hungarians” are essentially the foreign shareholders of these companies. The profit repatriation was a higher share of GDP than the EU subventions.

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    • Replies: @AP

    The problem with the “more equal” wealth and income distribution is the same as with communism: it’s not because the middle class is strong, but because there are no rich people, a huge chunk of the economy is owned by foreign firms.
     
    In that case, however - Poland's per capita income was the same as Russia's. So it wasn't simply, Poland was like Russia but without native oligarchs. Poland just had fewer and poorer oligarchs, while everyone else lived better than they did in Russia. I remember flying from Moscow to Warsaw in the mid 2000s and noticing fewer Bentleys or Ferraris (one of each was commonly parked outside our building in Moscow) but a lot more middle-class western cars and fewer Soviet-era ones.
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  59. @Anon
    @ The situation in Russia is that the very rich are more closely connected to the state, as necessary condition for their fortunes, ..

    Yes of course. Modern Russian fortunes are the result of prior State's share of the economy, basically all. Under the 1990's privatization schemes, the govmnt ceded operational control but retained concessionary/regulatory powers. That process permitted both egregious corruption and eventual leverage power for a Putin-type strong man.

    The US economy evolved organically, with a democratic orientation to the common good, and to a small government, including government share of economy. Governmt regulation evolved organically. So sharp businessmen like Rickefeller or Bezos could rise to inmense wealth and then look to shape policy, or be curtailed through regulation oriented to the common good. (Breaking up of monopolies within the US but famously not outside).

    Modern Russian fortunes are the result of prior State’s share of the economy, basically all.

    Not all, there are some second league billionaires like Kaspersky or Volozh who made their fortunes in a more or less legitimate way.

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  60. @reiner Tor
    The problem with the “more equal” wealth and income distribution is the same as with communism: it’s not because the middle class is strong, but because there are no rich people, a huge chunk of the economy is owned by foreign firms. Though Poland is still better than Hungary in that respect, our economy is basically a subordinate extension of the German economy. We sold everything for peanuts (like the flagship telecom company, the utilities firms, the banks, etc.), though at least some German firms built something (like Audi or Mercedes) instead of buying up something valuable cheap.

    Still the “richest Hungarians” are essentially the foreign shareholders of these companies. The profit repatriation was a higher share of GDP than the EU subventions.

    The problem with the “more equal” wealth and income distribution is the same as with communism: it’s not because the middle class is strong, but because there are no rich people, a huge chunk of the economy is owned by foreign firms.

    In that case, however – Poland’s per capita income was the same as Russia’s. So it wasn’t simply, Poland was like Russia but without native oligarchs. Poland just had fewer and poorer oligarchs, while everyone else lived better than they did in Russia. I remember flying from Moscow to Warsaw in the mid 2000s and noticing fewer Bentleys or Ferraris (one of each was commonly parked outside our building in Moscow) but a lot more middle-class western cars and fewer Soviet-era ones.

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  61. @Jaakko Raipala
    Sweden and Finland are extreme examples of stabilized oligarchies where most of the wealth has been controlled by a small set of families for centuries. Russia with its oligarchy that arose in the past few decades is the complete opposite.

    Even the famed "egalitarian" model of Sweden is designed to stabilize the oligarchy. For example, while Sweden has some of the highest progressive income tax rates in the world, it has rather low capital gains taxation and no inheritance tax. The ownership class is completely unaffected by Swedish "socialism" as they they get their income through capital gains which are not subject to the harsh, progressive taxation regime. The class that's suppressed hardest by the taxation regime are the highest earning professionals - the potential competitors to the already established elites.

    Sweden has some of the highest income equality in the developed world but it also has some of the highest wealth inequality. The system makes it very difficult to accumulate wealth and but it protects wealth for those who have already acquired lots of it. In Russia the oligarchy is new, the state hasn't yet been completely designed to serve an old ownership class and politicians (well, Putin) can still defy the oligarchs and win.

    Fascinating. Is Denmark organized the same way?

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  62. AnonFromTN [AKA "Anon"] says:

    Yea, the list is silly, to put it mildly. First, when a country lists the whole government of another country as “enemies”, the next step is the declaration of war. Whoever does not go to that next step exposes himself as a chicken you can safely spit on. Second, if the US government deliberately wanted to expose itself to widespread ridicule, it couldn’t have done a better job. The list includes all Russian ministers (obviously, copy-pasted from the Russian government website), all those working in Putin’s office (obviously copy-pasted from an outdated phonebook, as it includes some that had already resigned or were fired), and the first 96 positions copy-pasted from Forbes’ 200 wealthiest people in Russia. Third, unintended consequence #1: Putin’s support in Russia ticked up. Fourth, unintended consequence #2. Kremlin tried to push Russian oligarchs to move their money to Russia for years, without any success. Now, thanks to this move of the US government, some oligarchs have already started to repatriate their money. Fifth, unintended consequence #3: the price of Russian government treasuries has shot up. Thus, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that the US government is in cahoots with Putin.

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  63. @Anatoly Karlin

    Russia definitely does not have a ‘favela vs fortress’ culture. Russia is basically Sweden or Finland, except shabbier.
     
    It's really in between.

    There's no skyscraper vs. shantytown scenes in Russia, anywhere. OTOH, gated communities for the rich *are* a thing in Russia, like in the US and unlike Western Europe.

    OTOH, gated communities for the rich *are* a thing in Russia, like in the US and unlike Western Europe.

    Mostly correct, but not quite.

    Russia, for historical and geographic reasons, has a bizarre culture of fences. (Russians are aware and continually make fun of this.)

    Any plot of land that’s not fenced in is considered to be no-man’s land (fit for trespassing, littering, etc.), both in popular consciousness and by law.

    This means fences, even purely decorative fictitious ones, are literally everywhere. This also means that anyone, rich or poor, will put a a fence and gate around their house and/or their land.

    This isn’t due to crime or low trust (these fences can’t really keep anyone out), it’s just a way of signaling ownership.

    The USA is different — the “gated communities” in the USA are there to keep the Blacks out. The charade is needed because they decided to outlaw segregation somewhere along the way.

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    • Agree: JL
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  64. Read More
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Anon from TN
    If Pushkin were black, I am the Emperor of the East. He was ~1/8 Ethiopian, and even pure Ethiopians aren’t quite black. He is credited with the creation of modern literary Russian language, but he did not start from scratch, to put it mildly (in Pushkin’s own words, “the old man Derzhavin (Russian poet before Pushkin) noticed us and blessed before his death”). Not to mention that Pushkin’s language is quite different from today’s literary Russian.
    , @melanf
    Pushkin's mother (granddaughter of Abram Hannibal, who came from the territory of modern Ethiopia or Eritrea)
    http://mtdata.ru/u3/photo97F7/20292773126-0/original.jpeg
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  65. AnonFromTN [AKA "Anon"] says:
    @Polish Perspective
    OT: WE WUZ RUSSKIES!

    https://i.imgur.com/zZvbBet.png

    https://mobile.twitter.com/tariqnasheed/status/959102555417710592

    Anon from TN
    If Pushkin were black, I am the Emperor of the East. He was ~1/8 Ethiopian, and even pure Ethiopians aren’t quite black. He is credited with the creation of modern literary Russian language, but he did not start from scratch, to put it mildly (in Pushkin’s own words, “the old man Derzhavin (Russian poet before Pushkin) noticed us and blessed before his death”). Not to mention that Pushkin’s language is quite different from today’s literary Russian.

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    • Agree: Dmitry
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    he did not start from scratch, to put it mildly
     
    Yes there were important poets and reformers in the literary language before Pushkin. Karamzin especially is kind of a hero for work in reformation of the literary language. And suffering a lot of conservative attacks, resistance and controversy from Shishkov for it.
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  66. @AnonFromTN
    Anon from TN
    If Pushkin were black, I am the Emperor of the East. He was ~1/8 Ethiopian, and even pure Ethiopians aren’t quite black. He is credited with the creation of modern literary Russian language, but he did not start from scratch, to put it mildly (in Pushkin’s own words, “the old man Derzhavin (Russian poet before Pushkin) noticed us and blessed before his death”). Not to mention that Pushkin’s language is quite different from today’s literary Russian.

    he did not start from scratch, to put it mildly

    Yes there were important poets and reformers in the literary language before Pushkin. Karamzin especially is kind of a hero for work in reformation of the literary language. And suffering a lot of conservative attacks, resistance and controversy from Shishkov for it.

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  67. @Polish Perspective
    OT: WE WUZ RUSSKIES!

    https://i.imgur.com/zZvbBet.png

    https://mobile.twitter.com/tariqnasheed/status/959102555417710592

    Pushkin’s mother (granddaughter of Abram Hannibal, who came from the territory of modern Ethiopia or Eritrea)

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  68. I thought there were claims now that Gannibal didn’t come from Ethiopia, but in fact from somewhere in central Africa near Lake Chad.
    In that case he would presumably have been very dark-skinned.

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    • Replies: @melanf
    Abram Hannibal was certainly dark-skinned (to what extent - this can only guess). But his grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. were not dark-skinned
    , @reiner Tor
    I somewhere read that he could have had Arab blood in him. The picture I saw of his son certainly doesn’t look like a picture of a half-African. Half-Arab looks more plausible. Though probably they intentionally lightened his portraits, because Abram Gannibal had his wife imprisoned when she gave birth to a white child, so he must have been at least part sub-Saharan.

    I think genetic studies would be needed. Is his grave known? Probably any of his children’s graves would be enough. Why don’t they exhume some graves? They could later be re-buried properly to respect them. I’d certainly spend some resources to find out the origin of my national poet.
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  69. @German_reader
    I thought there were claims now that Gannibal didn't come from Ethiopia, but in fact from somewhere in central Africa near Lake Chad.
    In that case he would presumably have been very dark-skinned.

    Abram Hannibal was certainly dark-skinned (to what extent – this can only guess). But his grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. were not dark-skinned

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  70. @German_reader
    I thought there were claims now that Gannibal didn't come from Ethiopia, but in fact from somewhere in central Africa near Lake Chad.
    In that case he would presumably have been very dark-skinned.

    I somewhere read that he could have had Arab blood in him. The picture I saw of his son certainly doesn’t look like a picture of a half-African. Half-Arab looks more plausible. Though probably they intentionally lightened his portraits, because Abram Gannibal had his wife imprisoned when she gave birth to a white child, so he must have been at least part sub-Saharan.

    I think genetic studies would be needed. Is his grave known? Probably any of his children’s graves would be enough. Why don’t they exhume some graves? They could later be re-buried properly to respect them. I’d certainly spend some resources to find out the origin of my national poet.

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    • Replies: @melanf

    The picture I saw of his son certainly doesn’t look like a picture of a half-African. Half-Arab looks more plausible.
     
    Authentic portrait of Ivan Abramovich Hannibal son of Abram Hanibal
    https://pda.litres.ru/static/bookimages/28/53/85/28538501.bin.dir/h/i000000280000.jpg


    because Abram Gannibal had his wife imprisoned when she gave birth to a white child
     
    This is a legend
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  71. @reiner Tor
    I somewhere read that he could have had Arab blood in him. The picture I saw of his son certainly doesn’t look like a picture of a half-African. Half-Arab looks more plausible. Though probably they intentionally lightened his portraits, because Abram Gannibal had his wife imprisoned when she gave birth to a white child, so he must have been at least part sub-Saharan.

    I think genetic studies would be needed. Is his grave known? Probably any of his children’s graves would be enough. Why don’t they exhume some graves? They could later be re-buried properly to respect them. I’d certainly spend some resources to find out the origin of my national poet.

    The picture I saw of his son certainly doesn’t look like a picture of a half-African. Half-Arab looks more plausible.

    Authentic portrait of Ivan Abramovich Hannibal son of Abram Hanibal

    because Abram Gannibal had his wife imprisoned when she gave birth to a white child

    This is a legend

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    It's still in Wikipedia though:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abram_Petrovich_Gannibal#Family

    Gannibal married twice. His first wife was Evdokia Dioper, a Greek woman. The couple married in 1731. Dioper despised her husband, whom she was forced to marry. The marriage between Dioper and Gannibal was very volatile and he suspected her of infidelity early in their marriage.[11] Gannibal’s suspicions were confirmed when Dioper gave birth to a white daughter.[4] When Gannibal found out that she had been unfaithful to him, he had her arrested and thrown into prison, where she spent eleven years.

    Gannibal began living with another woman, Christina Regina Siöberg (1705–1781), daughter of Mattias Johan Siöberg and wife Christina Elisabeth d'Albedyll, and married her bigamously in Reval, in 1736, a year after the birth of their first child and while he was still lawfully married to his first wife. His divorce from Dioper did not become final until 1753, upon which a fine and a penance were imposed on Gannibal, and Dioper was sent to a convent for the rest of her life.
     
    Now there's a lot of rot on Wikipedia, and since I can't read Russian I obviously don't know if it's true.
    Doesn't sound like a very likeable character though.
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  72. @melanf

    The picture I saw of his son certainly doesn’t look like a picture of a half-African. Half-Arab looks more plausible.
     
    Authentic portrait of Ivan Abramovich Hannibal son of Abram Hanibal
    https://pda.litres.ru/static/bookimages/28/53/85/28538501.bin.dir/h/i000000280000.jpg


    because Abram Gannibal had his wife imprisoned when she gave birth to a white child
     
    This is a legend

    It’s still in Wikipedia though:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abram_Petrovich_Gannibal#Family

    Gannibal married twice. His first wife was Evdokia Dioper, a Greek woman. The couple married in 1731. Dioper despised her husband, whom she was forced to marry. The marriage between Dioper and Gannibal was very volatile and he suspected her of infidelity early in their marriage.[11] Gannibal’s suspicions were confirmed when Dioper gave birth to a white daughter.[4] When Gannibal found out that she had been unfaithful to him, he had her arrested and thrown into prison, where she spent eleven years.

    Gannibal began living with another woman, Christina Regina Siöberg (1705–1781), daughter of Mattias Johan Siöberg and wife Christina Elisabeth d’Albedyll, and married her bigamously in Reval, in 1736, a year after the birth of their first child and while he was still lawfully married to his first wife. His divorce from Dioper did not become final until 1753, upon which a fine and a penance were imposed on Gannibal, and Dioper was sent to a convent for the rest of her life.

    Now there’s a lot of rot on Wikipedia, and since I can’t read Russian I obviously don’t know if it’s true.
    Doesn’t sound like a very likeable character though.

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    • Replies: @melanf
    According to court documents, the first wife of Abram Hannibal, was convicted for attempting (together with her lover) to poison her husband. For this crime she was jailed. About illegitimate child of Evdokia Dioper there is no mention in the documents of the court. Such a child could exist, but there is no credible evidence .
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  73. @German_reader
    It's still in Wikipedia though:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abram_Petrovich_Gannibal#Family

    Gannibal married twice. His first wife was Evdokia Dioper, a Greek woman. The couple married in 1731. Dioper despised her husband, whom she was forced to marry. The marriage between Dioper and Gannibal was very volatile and he suspected her of infidelity early in their marriage.[11] Gannibal’s suspicions were confirmed when Dioper gave birth to a white daughter.[4] When Gannibal found out that she had been unfaithful to him, he had her arrested and thrown into prison, where she spent eleven years.

    Gannibal began living with another woman, Christina Regina Siöberg (1705–1781), daughter of Mattias Johan Siöberg and wife Christina Elisabeth d'Albedyll, and married her bigamously in Reval, in 1736, a year after the birth of their first child and while he was still lawfully married to his first wife. His divorce from Dioper did not become final until 1753, upon which a fine and a penance were imposed on Gannibal, and Dioper was sent to a convent for the rest of her life.
     
    Now there's a lot of rot on Wikipedia, and since I can't read Russian I obviously don't know if it's true.
    Doesn't sound like a very likeable character though.

    According to court documents, the first wife of Abram Hannibal, was convicted for attempting (together with her lover) to poison her husband. For this crime she was jailed. About illegitimate child of Evdokia Dioper there is no mention in the documents of the court. Such a child could exist, but there is no credible evidence .

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Ok, thank you, that's interesting...I probably really should stop believing Wikipedia :-)
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  74. @melanf
    According to court documents, the first wife of Abram Hannibal, was convicted for attempting (together with her lover) to poison her husband. For this crime she was jailed. About illegitimate child of Evdokia Dioper there is no mention in the documents of the court. Such a child could exist, but there is no credible evidence .

    Ok, thank you, that’s interesting…I probably really should stop believing Wikipedia :-)

    Read More
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