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Big Business and the Kingmakers

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Matthias Schepp in Spiegel Online tots up some of the more egregious losses of Russia’s spectacular spenders as a result of the economic crisis, and offers a few suggestions as to why the Kremlin is pouring so much money into bailing out its biggest businessmen:

[The economic crisis] stands in stark contrast to the 1990s, when the oligarchs used their money to secure the re-election of then-President Boris Yeltsin. Four years after that, financial magnate Boris Berezovsky helped his erstwhile protégé Putin become Yeltsin’s successor. Now it is no longer the oligarchs who are supporting the Kremlin — it is the Kremlin that is bailing out the oligarchs.


He also hones in on some of the shadier links between Kremlin and big business:

Last summer, Putin transformed a government defense export agency intoa holding with a total of 423 companies. This new entity — whichreceives subsidies and essentially acts as a huge state corporation –is headed by Sergei Chemezov, a close ally of Putin and a formercolleague from the days when they both worked as KGB intelligenceagents in the former East Germany.

Read the full article here.