. . . Alexei Navalny was found guilty of what activists said were trumped-up charges and given a suspended sentence of 3½ years. His younger brother was sent to prison, a move that drew comparisons to the Stalin-era practice of punishing family members of enemies of the state.
For two or three reasons, I would not go so far as to permanently and seriously conflate Russia’s president with the little guy with the mustache in Germany.
For one thing, Russia’s own internal saboteur works from a very different space in political time, and he’s both engaged and surrounded by the world free of dictatorship, which at the moment is shunning his best buddies and diminishing revenues from his state’s easiest money.
Moreover, the colonel president emperor may be operating also with internal controls and desires quite different from Adolph’s, the piratical motive combined with domestic aggrandizement being already well established and far out ahead of the want of the headaches attending imperial designs.
He knows too that while the plundering of Russia by its “Vertical of Power” and the approximately 110 multi-billionaire “oligarchs” who control about 35 percent of the state’s productive capacity may be stalled by a flooded oil market responding to the misadventure in Ukraine, responsibility today for the the essential criminality of the state — in Luke Harding’s words, the “Mafia State” — reverse engineers to himself, the only man at the top, and he’s the only figure capable of reversing its course.
We need to learn to respect ourselves.
We need to look at this important notion such as reputation and that reputation of a specific hospital, school, institution, or social office is a building stone in the overall reputation of our country . . . .
“We all understand that the sources of assets are different, that they were earned or acquired in various ways. However, I am confident that we should finally close, turn the ‘offshore page’ in the history of our economy and our country. It is very important and necessary to do this.”
The sentiments expressed in the speech follow action taken earlier in the year:
On the 18th of March the Russian Ministry of Finance published a draft law on anti-offshore measures. Following wide public discussion, a revised draft was published on the 27th of May.
The draft introduces four key concepts, namely, controlled foreign companies (CFC) rules; Russian tax residence for foreign companies, based on tests of management and control; concepts of ‘factual right to income’ and ‘beneficial owner’ in the context of applying international tax treaties; and new rules on taxation of the indirect disposal of Russian real estate.
Apply: “For my friends, everything! For my enemies, the law!”
Putin may be making some new “frenemies” about now as he at one turn coaxes the return of capital to Moscow and determines, perhaps, to build from it a new modern domestic economy — and at the other, in days to come, woe to the holdouts who may be made to face the latest in law promulgated by the Ministry of Finance.
The haunt of old Joe may spook the careers of both Vladimir Putin and Alexei Navalny: he’s the ghost representing a past to which no one should wish to return. In fact, Kruschev trashed it; Gorbachov nearly buried it; but the KGB and associates have revived it just enough to suit themselves grandly.
The present neo-feudal Russian security dictatorship may have a problem in just not really wanting to be what it is, i.e., politically criminal, a Russian domestic disaster, a financial Chernobyl, a billboard for the expression of malignant, unbridled, and ruthless narcissism.
While Navalny appears to threaten the power that is, he may also stand as the one first most reliable channel marker out of the kind of hell that attends the psychology in personality of the same.
Perhaps for Russians as a whole the journey contained in the homily “you can’t go home again” has of necessity involved a deep revisitation through Putin with the near histories of feudalism and communism, a two steps back toward the revival of 19th Century aristocracy and 20th Century socialist fascism that has reliably, inevitably, recalled to mind the excesses and miseries attending both.
In that light, the regime may know that Navalny needs to be a part of the Russia to come, that he’s part of the self respect to come — a sentiment mouthed into necessity by the president — and that playing with him with the familiar tools of dictatorship might be just the simplest way of telling him to wait his turn: his better day will come.
Credit Suisse said that there were hopes with the demise of the Soviet Union that Russia would turn into a high skilled economy with fair wealth distribution but “this is almost a parody of what happened in practice.”
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