Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sooner or later people will demand their money back

This is from Alexander Lebedev's blog in 'The Guardian. [Lebedev owns several British newspapers].

Much of what he says applies to Ukraine also.

"Everybody knows what happened after the fall of the Soviet Union. A few opportunistic businessmen swooped like vultures to claim whole industries for themselves. Quickly, they made hundreds of millions by monopolising them. The Kremlin, whose long slide into autocracy shows no sign of relenting, made deals with several of them, knowing it would be easier to keep them on side than to open up Russia's economy to proper procedures, competition, and fair trade. That's the story people are familiar with. But something is beginning to change. First of all, several of these men – it's almost always men, I'm afraid – have grievances with each other which date back many years; but they have only recently called in their lawyers. So expect more disputes in the manner of Berezovsky v Abramovich soon.

Second, the sheer scale of the losses to the Russian people – in shady deals and contracts, and lost productivity, jobs, and income – is only now becoming clear. My own estimate is that over $500bn has been effectively stolen from the Russian people between 2003-2011; economists I speak to in Moscow suggest it could be more. Russia's struggling citizens have every right to reclaim these funds, and as awareness of this vast sum spreads across the country, so too will intolerance of it. When demonstrations broke out in Moscow before Christmas, it was noticeable how many of the protesters were demanding their money back from the Kremlin."

1 comment:

Wikileaks UA said...

Hi. In addition to the Wikileaks Ukraine: Kyiv US Embassy Cables data extract we have added extracts for the following US Embassies:

Russia: Moscow
Belarus: Minsk
Georgia: Tablisi
Poland: Warsaw
Moldova: Chisinau

Once again thanks for your informative blog