Eurasia, History, Politics, War and peace

Why I wrote “Grand Deception.”

In the past year, quite a few people have asked me why I wrote “Grand Deception,” my twice banned book about Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act and the historical relations between Russia and the West. Some of them have asked me to write down the answer I gave them in a way that could be shared, since the story seems very relevant to today’s circumstances and risk of a major military conflagration we are facing. So here goes… Continue reading

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Eurasia, History, Politics

“Grand Deception” book review

Positive reviews are one of the most gratifying rewards in publishing a book, but reviews that are as thoughtful and generous as the one I’ve recently received from Harley Schlanger is a rare thing. More rare still is a review that actually adds depth and perspective to the subject matter and is a worthwhile read in itself. Here goes: Continue reading

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Eurasia, History, Politics

6/6: the 1990s Russian catastrophe could have been avoided

It is commonly accepted that, after 70 years of Communist dictatorship, Russia’s 1990s transition was inevitably going to be a massive train wreck. This is yet another convenient misconception that western intellectuals like to embrace. The foregoing article seeks to dispel this notion and set the historical record straight. It is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book, “Grand Deception: the Truth About Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act, and Anti-Russia Sanctions”. The book’s previous incarnation was banned last summer.

This is the last in a six-part series on Russia’s 1990s transition from communism to capitalism. Links to previous posts: introduction, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5. Continue reading

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History, Politics

5/6: the transition that took five million lives

In a recent appearance on FOX News, U.S. senator Ted Cruz stated categorically that Vladimir Putin was a KGB thug who said that the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 21st century was the dissolution of the Soviet Union (the quote and the warped timeline Cruz’s own). The foregoing article should explain why Vladimir Putin may have said something of the sort. It is part 5 in a six-part series on Russia’s 1990s transition from communism to capitalism, excerpted from Chapter 3 of my book, “Grand Deception: the Truth About Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act, and Anti-Russia Sanctions.” The book’s previous incarnation was banned last summer.

Links to previous posts: introduction, part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4. Continue reading

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Eurasia, History, Politics

4/6: the Enterprise – role of the deep state in 1990s raid on Russia

The foregoing article is part 4 in a six-part series on Russia’s transition from communism to capitalism during the 1990s. Links to previous posts: introduction, part 1, part 2, part 3. It is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book, “Grand Deception: the Truth About Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act, and Anti-Russia Sanctions.” The book’s previous incarnation was banned last summer by some of the same actors we’ll be discussing today. This post should prove relevant today, in light of hysterical rebukes of President Trump‘s recent summit with his Russian counter part in Finland, particularly regarding the role and trustworthiness of the so-called “intelligence community.” Continue reading

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Economics, Eurasia, History, Inflation, Politics

3/6: the strangulation of Russian economy in the 1990s was a deliberate IMF policy

… if the notion of billions of barrels of proven oil reserves and billions of tons of gold fills your dreams with visions of red-hot cash flow and ice-cold vodka, then Boris Yeltsin just might find some work for you. – Paul Hofheinz, Fortune Magazine, 23 September 1991[1]

The foregoing article is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book “Grand Deception: the Truth about Bill Browder, Magnitsky Act and Anti-Russian Sanctions.” Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Shock therapy gave Russia one of the worst and longest economic depressions of the 20th century, an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe for a peace time crisis, and a criminally inequitable privatization of public assets. The reasons why things happened this way in Russia generally aren’t well understood in the west. Even among better informed intellectuals, the failure of shock therapy is often thought to be vaguely related to some sinister flaw in the Russian society. It is what Bill Browder characterized as “the dirty dishonesty of Russia,” or “Russia’s evil foundation,” which spawned corruption and criminality of staggering proportions. In this toxic environment, the sweet fruits of western democracy and capitalism simply could not grow in spite of the generous benevolence of Russia’s western friends. Continue reading

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Eurasia, History, Politics

2/6: Russian lawmakers’ revolt and the 1993 Constitutional crisis

We created a virtual open shop for thievery at a national level and for capital flight in terms of hundreds of billions of dollars, and the reaping of natural resources and industries on a scale which I doubt has ever taken place in human history. – E. Wayne Merry, chief political analyst at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow (1990-1994)

The foregoing article is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book “Grand Deception: the Truth about Bill Browder, Magnitsky Act and Anti-Russian Sanctions.” Part 1 is here.

Economic reforms and privatization were highly destructive for Russia. They were also achieved outside of the legitimate legal framework. To sidestep the government agencies and circumvent the parliament, Yeltsin’s government worked through a network of private agencies and non-governmental organizations set up by Anatoly Chubais, his associates, and their western advisers. One of the most important of these organizations was the Russia Privatization Center (RPC), set up by the HIID and Anatoly Chubais under a presidential decree. RPC’s directors were Andrei Schleifer and Chubais himself. Continue reading

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