One of the main themes used to demonize Putin in the west are the incessant insinuations that he is corrupt and that his corruption enabled him to build up massive personal wealth. But while these allegations are invariably presented with zero evidence, we do have some evidence that Putin is in fact not corrupt (at least not in the way it is being implied in western media – but this will be a topic for another discussion). I found the testimony from Sharon Tennison very interesting in this regard as well. Tennison is the founder and president of Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) and had worked in Russia (and the USSR) for 30 years. In the course of her activities, she has had at least one personal encounter with Putin and had over the years came to know many other American officials and businessmen who had worked with him. According to Tennison, none of those officials “would describe [Putin] as ‘brual,’ or ‘thuggish,’ or other slanderous adjectives and nouns that are repeatedly used in western media.” Continue reading
Almost from the very start of his presidency, Vladimir Putin has been relentlessly vilified in the western media. If their portrayal of Mr. Putin reflected the objective truth, we should believe that the man has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. As I noted in the first in this series of excerpts from “Grand Deception,” systematic demonization of a nation’s leader predisposes many people to consent to war or regime change as means to help a stricken nation rid itself of a rotten, tyrannical leader. If we detest Vladimir Putin, we might approve of our intelligence communities orchestrating a coup to throw him out of power, even if the blood of some Russians is spilled in the process. It should be an honorable deed done for a greater good. Indeed, those who are desperate to have a regime change in Russia should be very keen for us to detest Mr. Putin. Hence the nonstop, un-nuanced negative coverage. Here I offer a different perspective: what if Putin isn’t an arch-villain? What if he does in fact have redeeming qualities? Should we not try to get to know the man a bit better before we shrug off another regime change or war to rid the world of tyrants. Continue reading
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. Several of them suggested that I write down what I had told them, since it seems relevant given the risk of military threats we are facing today. So here goes… Continue reading
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
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.
Former hedge fund manager Bill Browder, the faux crusader for human rights, has made very serious claims of corruption against Vladimir Putin, claims which many media personalities in the West have treated as true and factual without ever challenging them. Browder, the go-to expert on Putin’s corruption, presents these claims in his bestseller, “Red Notice.” At first blush, they show Vladimir Putin in a very negative light that may shock the reader. A more careful scrutiny of Browder’s case shows it to be a disingenous, baseless smear, which further begs the question: if this is the best (worst) Browder can offer as proof against Putin, what exactly do the ceaseless allegations of his corruption amount to? The following excerpt from my book (currently banned, but available here in electronic format) examines the merits of Bill Borwder’s assertions. Continue reading
The following article summarizes many of the changes in Russia over 17 years under Vladimir Putin’s rule. All of the information presented is based on empirical data, most of it from western sources like the World Bank, Ernst&Young, Vtsiom, Ipsos and Gallup. Virtually none of this information was presented in any western corporate press with the notable exception of Forbes magazine (which took the information down after a few weeks). In addition to the below, I’ve subsequently published an article in three parts titled, “Is Vladimir Putin evil?”