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Risky Russky Business (Analysis of Putin's Russia Politics and Business)
FrontPageMag.com ^ | June 28, 2006 | Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen

Posted on 06/28/2006 2:15:09 PM PDT by sergey1973

The West’s need for Russia’s energy and cooperation regarding Iran, Iraq, China, and the “War on Terrorism” will likely lower the standard demanded for a full membership in the G8 group, to allow Moscow’s ascendance to the rich nations’ club, at the St. Petersburg meeting in July.

“In the six years since he pledged to uphold democracy as a 'dictatorship of law,' President Vladimir Putin has increased the role of the police and security services in governing Russia and wielded the power of the courts for political ends,” says the Director of the London based Foreign Policy Centre, Stephen Twig. Indeed, according to the former director of Communist Romania’s intelligence service Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, while “the Soviet Union had one KGB officer for every 428 citizens. Putin’s Russia has one FSB-ist (Federal Security Service) for every 297 citizens.”

This huge increase in security personnel did little to control the rising corruption that plagues Russia. On the contrary; more state agents demand more bribes from Russian citizens and foreigners doing business in Russia.

In 2005 alone, Russian businesses paid an estimated $316 billion in bribes, about 20 percent the country’s GDP that year, according a report by the Moscow based Indem Foundation. And corruption is not limited to business; Russian citizens are forced to pay bribes to receive basic services that the government is supposed to provide for free. Want your driver’s license in the near future? Your passport ready before your flight takes off? Your marriage license? Pay up.

(Excerpt) Read more at frontpagemag.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: coldwar2; corruption; crime; democracy; dictatorship; easterneurope; economics; economy; eeurope; energy; energysecurity; eu; europe; fridman; g8; g8summit; gazprom; gazputin; ipoc; norex; oil; oilforfood; putin; rico; russia; volcker; wto
Dr Rachel Ehrenfeld is a thorough researcher on the Islamic Terrorism financing, and she put her research skills to portray a thorough picture on the state of affairs in Russia. However, I will settle if Russia at least stops supporting countries like Islamic Iran and Communist China that will ultimately be threat to Russia too and will act responsibly toward it's neighbors--the former Soviet republics.

While there will be talks of a New Cold War, I still hope it won't be the case because situation is quite different with resurgent Islamists trying to destroy Infidels left and right. There is always hope that circumstances will force Putin regime to act responsibly no matter how disappointing the situation is.

1 posted on 06/28/2006 2:15:14 PM PDT by sergey1973
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To: DesScorp; DollyCali; Madison Moose; MadLibDisease; Mystified_Rep; Conservative Yankee; eleni121; ...

Russia & Eurasia Ping List


Please FRMail me if you want to be added or removed from the Russia & Eurasia Ping list.


2 posted on 06/28/2006 2:16:05 PM PDT by sergey1973
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To: sergey1973
"There is always hope that circumstances will force Putin regime to act responsibly no matter how disappointing the situation is."
No circumstances could ever force anyone to change one's fundamental nature, although occasionally one might be forced to act against it [this always breeds deepest resentment, and for this reason such situations are transient]. It is "not there", and under no circumstances will cows fly.
3 posted on 06/28/2006 2:30:52 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: GSlob

"No circumstances could ever force anyone to change one's fundamental nature, although occasionally one might be forced to act against it [this always breeds deepest resentment, and for this reason such situations are transient]. It is "not there", and under no circumstances will cows fly."

Gee-GSlob--we need to establish the great FR thinkers hall of fame and give you the honorary place there -:))) !

Then to answer your argument, I would hope that Putin be forced to act against his fundamental nature -:))))


4 posted on 06/28/2006 2:36:35 PM PDT by sergey1973
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To: sergey1973
I wish the USA would stop supporting AKim Ceku that islamic indicted war criminal in Kosovo!!

But they will not stop, because the soros/buffet/gates liberal crowd NEEDS them to finish stealing ALL of the CHRISTIAN'S lands in Kosovo.

5 posted on 06/28/2006 2:44:36 PM PDT by Lion in Winter (islamics arn't religious, just set on on mass murder of non-muslims! NO FAT ISLAMIC broads!!)
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To: Lion in Winter

You are right, Lion. Political stupidity and Myopia unfortunately are universal among Non-Muslim countries who instead of uniting against Islamo-Nazi thugs are still trying to use these Islamo-Nazis against each other. It's playing with fire


6 posted on 06/28/2006 2:48:50 PM PDT by sergey1973
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To: sergey1973

Yes, you could force him to do so - say [as a figurative illustration] by keeping a gun to his head. And then the question becomes, how long could you maintain [or even keep increasing due to the building resentment] such a pressure, and what would happen if you weaken or remove it. Identities are extremely resilient things, as the Israelis have found over last 60+ years, and as Russia itself found, and is finding, in places like Poland or Chechnya. To force him into behaving against what he is would be quite a trick.


7 posted on 06/28/2006 2:56:46 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: sergey1973
It is sort of like "my mussies can whip your mussies" game and it us NON-mussie civilians that get killed or maimed in the dang crossfire!!

Playing with fire indeed it is!!

8 posted on 06/28/2006 3:01:19 PM PDT by Lion in Winter (islamics arn't religious, just set on on mass murder of non-muslims! NO FAT ISLAMIC broads!!)
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To: GSlob

"Identities are extremely resilient things, as the Israelis have found over last 60+ years, and as Russia itself found, and is finding, in places like Poland or Chechnya."

Well--let's not mix a number of conflicts together. Russian domination over Poland was a gross injustice and morally harmful to both Poland and Russia. It was Christians oppressing other Christians and hence it's more intra-civilizational conflict althought some would argue that Catholic and Eastern Orthodox are separate civilizations. Maybe it's partly true, but it's also true that Orthodox and Catholic Christians are far close to each other than each of them to Muslims. They should remember this.

Russian-Chechen War and Israeli-"Palestinian" War are "clash of civilizations". Israel could have avoided much of the tragedies by simply offering in 1967 incentives to "Palestinians" (really Arabs and other Middle East Islamic tribes) to relocate from Judea, Samaria (aka West Bank) and Gaza to other Arab countries. "Peace Process" was in fact a surrender to Israel's vicious enemies the territories Israel won in a just 1967 war of self-defence.

Russian-Chechen conflict is a bit different because Russia was spreading militarily into Muslim-held territory for centuries. However, knowing the nature of Islam, from political stand-point it made sense. Having said that, much of the brutalities of the latest Russian-Chechen wars could have been avoided if Russia simply relocated the Chechen population into decent refugee centers away from the war zone. It could also offer all its Muslims who want to live under Islamic Laws a one way ticket to Haj in Saudi Arabia with condition not to come back.

Overall, the clash of civilizations is real and was going on since the dawn of civilization itself and it's impossible to walk away from that. Being fair and objective in civilizational struggle is simply impossible because ultimately nobody fights fairly. Each civilization wants an absolute domination and all of us have no choice but to choose which civilization we are backing.


9 posted on 06/28/2006 3:32:11 PM PDT by sergey1973
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To: sergey1973
"Orthodox and Catholic Christians are far close to each other than each of them to Muslims. They should remember this."
Dead wrong. Civilization is a self-reproducing way of life [i.e. sociology]. Frequently it overlaps with religion, and then religion could be used as a label for a civilization [as Huntington did] - but then one needs to emphasize the sociological aspects of any religion [along the lines of Caesar/God dichotomy] and pay very little attention to any particular theology proper. And then it turns out that Huntington's "Orthodox civ", while nominally Christian, is much closer to Islamic and Sinic civilizations than to anything else. All three of them [sociologically] are "asiatic despotisms", using Karl Marx's expression. From here, BTW, follows the proclivity of USSR/Russia to befriending all these Assads, Saddams, Nassers, Quaddafis, Iranians, Kims and their ilk and kind.
10 posted on 06/28/2006 4:27:01 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: GSlob

"And then it turns out that Huntington's "Orthodox civ", while nominally Christian, is much closer to Islamic and Sinic civilizations than to anything else."

Here I would argue with Huntington. Definitely Orthodox Russia as Orthodox Byzantium created after split of Roman Empire into two, developed as despotic civilizations. Nevertheless, Islam still destroyed Orthodox Byzantium and Orthodox Russia was at war with Islamic Ottoman Empire.

In the end, Christianity "both lungs" (as John Paul II proclaimed), will need to unite for Christian Civilization to survive.


11 posted on 06/28/2006 4:37:07 PM PDT by sergey1973
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To: sergey1973

So what? In the "international of despots" there are - bound to be - squabbles and fallings out now and then. When the whole world had nothing but despotisms, great and small, were these despotisms at peace with one another? At peace - no, in kinship - yes. What is claimed is that they have more in common with one another than with anybody outside the circle.


12 posted on 06/28/2006 4:53:11 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: GSlob

Despots still could belong to different civilizations and democracies could fight each other too -:))))


13 posted on 06/28/2006 4:56:04 PM PDT by sergey1973
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To: sergey1973
Despots from different civilizations are at least cousins, if not outright brothers [and they still fight among themselves]. Democracies fight among themselves but rarely [unless you count the warfare among ancient Greek city-states].
And as for JPII and his "two lungs" metaphor - he was a religious figure, and not a sociologist. His religiosity, should we say, on that occasion struck in his head [v golovu udarila], and clouded his sight.
14 posted on 06/28/2006 5:12:08 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: GarySpFc; Romanov; x5452

What do you think?


15 posted on 06/28/2006 5:55:28 PM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done, needs to be done by the government.)
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To: GSlob; Romanov
Dead wrong. Civilization is a self-reproducing way of life [i.e. sociology]. Frequently it overlaps with religion, and then religion could be used as a label for a civilization [as Huntington did] - but then one needs to emphasize the sociological aspects of any religion [along the lines of Caesar/God dichotomy] and pay very little attention to any particular theology proper. And then it turns out that Huntington's "Orthodox civ", while nominally Christian, is much closer to Islamic and Sinic civilizations than to anything else. All three of them [sociologically] are "asiatic despotisms", using Karl Marx's expression. From here, BTW, follows the proclivity of USSR/Russia to befriending all these Assads, Saddams, Nassers, Quaddafis, Iranians, Kims and their ilk and kind.

You left Russia in 1981, which implies to me you are almost certainly Jewish, correct? That would certainly color your view of Orthodox Christianity.
16 posted on 06/28/2006 6:56:58 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
While I have been to Russia several times, I cannot tell you if the FSB has increased in number over the KGB. My buddy who went to school in Moscow in the late eighties, and has returned almost every year would strongly disagree. My only experience with the FSB (KGB)was on my initial trip to Russian in 2000. At Sherymetro Airport I met a retired member of the KGB-Special Forces named Victor while waiting in line for the flight to Volgograd. He was very nice, and even carried my carry on to the plane. When we reached Volgograd Nadya met us, and he introduced himself to her. That was the only time she has met a member of the KGB since the fall of the Iron Curtain. It has been my experience they leave everyone alone. That said, Romanov would be the best source for the information comparing the size of the KGB to the FSB.
17 posted on 06/28/2006 7:07:32 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: Romanov

Ping


18 posted on 06/28/2006 7:08:07 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: GarySpFc

Since you claimed, I believe, to have kegebun in-laws, have them sift through the archives - why should I make your job any easier?


19 posted on 06/28/2006 8:16:34 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: GarySpFc; GSlob

Papeca should never be quoted as an "Expert" on the FSB/KGB. He, like so many of the "defectors for profit" write what they think their audience wants to read. And it pays the bills. His figures are frickin' laughable. I think it was last year or the year before that the FSB was lamenting it's personnel shortage and recruiting using newspaper ads. I read an ad in a Russian newspaper and thought it was a joke, it wasn't.

Do the math - if a young Russian has foreign language skills and an advanced degree they'll get a job with a Western company that pays good $$$$. Why would they waste themselves at the FSB making approx. $70/month starting out.

Here's what real analysts say about it:

"By 2000, the FSB’s total personnel was assessed at 92,000. Applicant levels however had fallen from 10 per opening at the FSB Academy in 1997 to 6 per opening in 2001. “Because of personnel shortages,” writes Bennett, “the FSB began to accept back some of its former officers who left the services in the 1990s to work for commercial companies or other government organizations.” Pay remains low: at the end of 2000, a lieutenant entering FSB received 2,000 rubles ($70) a month; in 2001, this rarely rose over 3,000 rubles ($100), though officers could supplement their pay both legally, through bonuses for tasks and perks, and illegally, through moonlighting, providing krysha services, or selling classified information (including to foreign governments, as was acknowledged in June 2000 by the head of the FSB’s Internal Security Directorate, Maj.-Gen. Smirnov, as well as by Patrushev himself). The FSB’s budget has however been rising. In 2002, the FSB was reportedly to receive roughly $600 million, though this figure, as Bennett notes, was set before September 11, 2001, and must have been subsequently adjusted to meet renewed priorities. According to former FSB director Nikolai Kovalev (in a September 2001 interview), “the FSB has been receiving enough funds to pay personnel but not enough to develop the technical equipment required or to conduct scientific research to produce equipment necessary for combating terrorism.” In 2005, in the wake of the Beslan attack, the FSB budget (whose amount is classified) was increased by 25%, though Prime Minister Fradkov publicly noted that “some parts of the FSB budget have grown so much the agency is already having trouble spending all the money.”32"
http://www.psan.org/document521.html


20 posted on 06/28/2006 9:30:51 PM PDT by Romanov
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To: GSlob
Since you claimed, I believe, to have kegebun in-laws, have them sift through the archives - why should I make your job any easier?

You answered my question.
21 posted on 06/28/2006 9:54:55 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: GarySpFc

"You left Russia in 1981, which implies to me you are almost certainly Jewish, correct? That would certainly color your view of Orthodox Christianity."

antisemitism :(


22 posted on 06/29/2006 7:13:35 AM PDT by Grzegorz 246
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To: Grzegorz 246
"You left Russia in 1981, which implies to me you are almost certainly Jewish, correct? That would certainly color your view of Orthodox Christianity."

antisemitism :(

On the contrary his post is clearly anti-christian.
23 posted on 06/29/2006 7:49:22 AM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: GarySpFc

Never helping, or collaborating with, kegebuns is a commandment.


24 posted on 06/29/2006 9:18:17 AM PDT by GSlob
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To: Fedora
The closely held $20 billion-plus Alfa-Eco seems to represent Russia’s business- ethic practices. It was founded in the Soviet Union in 1988, during Gorbachev’s perestroika. “Its core business was computer sales, producing and selling devices for ecological control of products, tea production, as well as selling carpets and consumer goods.”

Today, the Alfa empire, has Russian, European, Asian, Caribbean and U.S. branches and offices managing companies in banking and finance, oil and gas, mobile telephone service, construction material, commodities, food processing and supermarkets. Its subsidiaries include Alfa Capital Markets, Alfa Bank, Tyumen Oil, Altimo, Perekriostok Group and countless others. Alfa’s Chairman Mikhail Fridman, 42, who was ranked by Forbes list of the richest as No. 50,  owns 40 percent. Alfa also “controls three international corporations that are publicly traded in the U.S.”: VimpelCom and Turkcell are traded on the NYSE, and Golden Telecom is traded on the NASDAQ.

To maintain good relations with the Kremlin, Fridman, who served as an economic adviser to President Boris Yeltsin, gathered around him central Russian figures past and present. Alfa President Pyotr Aven, for example, was trade minister in Yegor Gaidor's 1992 government, and reportedly remains Putin's close friend. Similarly, Leonard Vid, former U.S.S.R. First Deputy Head of the Gosplan central planning committee, was for at least five years Chairman of Alfa Bank's Executive Board responsible for legal divisions, interest committees and representation in Russia's federal government and Central Bank.

...

According to a 1,000-page, September 2004 CIA report by Charles Duelfer, “The Iraqi embassy in Moscow assisted, among other deals, a Russian company called Alfa Echo in signing contracts for importing oil from Iraq.” After September 2000, Duelfer reports, all companies in the oil-for-food (OFF) program paid illicit “surcharges” to Iraq. Furthermore, the Volcker Commission reported to the United Nations that at least two Alfa subsidiaries conducted at least 15 transactions involving more than 100 million barrels of oil worth at least $2 billion dollars. Indeed, the committee wrote, “About 2.8 percent of the Iraqi oil exported under the Programme was sold through Alfa Eco, [which] was the fourth largest purchaser of Iraqi oil ....”

In one instance, Volcker reported, Alfa paid more than $300,000 in kickbacks for 10 million barrels of oil worth more than $249 million. In November and December 2001, Volcker data shows that Alfa paid at least three other kickbacks totaling $1.73 million. Of $2,351,880 in total Alfa oil trading kickbacks to Iraq, the Volcker commission reports, more than $2 million in cash was paid “through the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow.” ...Illegal oil surcharges generated at least $229 million for Saddam Hussein, according to October 2005 testimony from Michigan Senator Carl Levin. But the oil-for-food program generated at least $1.5 billion in illegal payments on “humanitarian” goods. Here, too, the Volcker commission discovered illicit Alfa kickbacks on “humanitarian” shipments of milk, sugar, tea, detergent, wheat, rice, pulses, laboratory gases, measuring and control instrumentation, and other items.

25 posted on 06/29/2006 10:48:21 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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