Ukraine’s Iron Harvest and the Oligarchs

T. Belman. Kemp is focussed on the role played by the Russian Oligarchs in Ukraine War. In today’s video by Dr. Turley, he points to a  Study; US is an Oligarchy, not a Democracy, by two Princeton professors after reviewing answers to 1,779 survey questions asked between 1981 and 2002 on public policy issues.

When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.”

In the following 9 years the situation got demonstrably worse. In other words, the US is a democracy in name only.

by Richard Kemp, GATSTONE  •  April 26, 2023

  • The media prefer to talk of mansions and opulent yachts rather than the corporate assets which continue to generate profits for the oligarch class that includes men like Alexei Miller, Igor Sechin, Roman Abramovich, Boris Rotenberg, Vladimir Potanin, Viatcheslav ‘Moshe’ Kantor, and Igor Shuvalov as well as their sons and daughters who occupy key banking and business roles too. All of these have been sanctioned and some of their assets frozen.
  • Serious consideration should be given to finding a way to hold the beneficiaries of Putin’s largesse even more accountable, if possible, and direct their assets to rectifying the damage that their patron-in-chief has caused. It is likely that tens of billions of US dollars of Putin’s oligarchs’ assets have already been frozen under international sanctions. This means Russia cannot use them, but as things stand, they cannot be confiscated and put to work to help Ukraine re-build, much as there is the desire in the US, UK and EU to do so.
  • A series of bills has already been introduced in the US Congress towards this aim, but they would all appear to fall foul of domestic laws as well as international investment laws. What is now needed therefore is a coordinated legislative effort in Washington, London and like-minded capitals to permanently deprive Russia of these funds and use them to help offset the massive reconstruction bills that will otherwise fall entirely to US, British and European taxpayers.

The carnage wreaked on Ukraine has been visible on our screens every day, as we have watched the conflict unfold over the past year: human beings torn apart, apartment blocks levelled, cars mangled, roads cratered, train stations smashed and sometimes whole towns reduced to piles of smoking rubble.

The World Bank estimates an overall reconstruction bill for Ukraine at $349 billion, an eye-watering sum that is rising by the week. Ukrainian government sources put it at more like $700 billion. Somehow this has all got to be paid for, and it’s not going to come from Ukraine, whose economy is in tatters after months of fighting for its very survival. The chances of getting Russia to cough up are close to zero, whatever the talk of war crimes trials and reparations.

Meanwhile, sanctioned Russian oligarchs, who themselves bear considerable responsibility for Putin’s aggression, simply alter the ownership of their corporations to avoid penalties, often with their vast fortunes residing in Western banks and property empires. It is time for their wealth to come under greater scrutiny as the world figures out how to put Ukraine back together when the war eventually comes to an end.

Continue Reading Article

April 26, 2023 | 2 Comments »

Leave a Reply

2 Comments / 2 Comments

  1. I find it interesting to hear that the ”democracies” of the world are looking for a way in which to steal the assets of Russia’s elites. Of course, after having stolen the assets of the state which were the property of the Russian people, this would be a natural next step to the association of international bandits which has brought about the creation of failed states around the world and titled it in the name of ‘democracy’.

    In fact, the liquidation of the Russian Oligarchs will not make Putin weaker and it will not make Putin fall from power. It is well known that when Putin came to power, he carried out a partial coup on the Oligarchs by employing the massive power of the state to separate the assets of the Yukos corporation from its owner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was trying to sell Russian oil assets to the West. I have written about this before, so I won’t repeat the details again, but the outcome was to see the Russian govt take control of the Russian oil assets and left Khodorkovsky in jail for over a decade. The threat remained lingering over the rest of the Oligarchs that what became of Khodorkovsky could easily become the fate of anyone of them, and held them in something of an arranged collaberation with a govt which could strike at their wealth and security at any moment – which is why they invested so much of their wealth in the West.

    The relevance of this history lies in the Western condemnation of Putin as being nothing more than a petty tyrant for manipulated the legal codes and procedures of Russia simply so that he could seize control of Khodorkovsky’s Russian assets, and yet today, we have the West contemplating the same exact extrajudicial excercise of ‘justice’, but on an international scale.

    It is simply true that should the Oligarchs be stripped of all that they hold, it will simply create a power vacuum which will be filled, not by any Western interest, but by Putin’s govt. Given the manner in which Putin has managed the Russian economy and society, this might not be an altogether bad thing, but it a benefit or detriment to the Russian people, by destabilizing Russia’s balance of power between the Oligarchs and the govt, will hardly weaken the Russian premiere which has been claimed to be the goal of the West.

    Recall that the very reason why the Oligarchs shipped their funds and investments outside of Russia was to prevent the Russian govt doing what the West is contemplating at the moment. Unfortunately for these Oligarchs and their families, their great mistake was in believing that they could actually trust the Western democracies to remain democratic institutions.

    So is it truly the desire of the West to make their mortal enemy, Putin, even stronger than he stands today?

    Actually, I would argue that this proposal by Kemp is actually nothing more than a threat by the West to motivate the Russian Oligarchs to storm the Bastille and overthrow the Puting govt. Either way, the days of the Oligarchs are numbered as they have no where to hide, and no where to hide their money. They are caught in a catch-22 trap, and must choose to either join the West against their nation or join their nation against the West. Or, at least, this is how I read these threats to reinterpret the established international financial system to steal the Oligarch’s wealth.

  2. Between the headline and your opening statement, Ted, I can’t discern whether you, Kemp and/or Turley are discussing the Ukraine, Russian oligarchs or the social decline of the US.

    On the outside chance that this is about the Ukraine, perhaps here is the place to note that while Ukraine is getting mired down into a WWI-style “forever war”, major countries like the US, the UK, Japan, etc. are preparing for the almost-guaranteed commencement of a hot war with China in 2027:

    I will scan Kemp’s piece later. Cheers.