Vladimir the corrupt: Up the sanctions against Putin
Reaping tens of billions of illicit real estate, energy and kickback dollars for himself and his cronies, Russian President Vladimir Putin proves why “corrupt” almost always precedes “autocrat.”
U.S. officials speaking anonymously estimate the illicit haul has totaled at least $28 billion since the late 1990s. They tell The Washington Free Beacon that Mr. Putin alone has acquired 20 residences, 58 aircraft and four yachts since the early 2000s.
Also benefiting are fellow ex-KGB and intelligence figures who stole $25 billion to $30 billion just from Sochi Winter Olympics construction accounts. And Putin apparently uses Gazprom, which he controls, and other oil and gas firms like personal ATMs, skimming billions of dollars in cash.
Limited U.S. financial sanctions, prompted by Putin's outrageous annexation of Crimea and continuing threat to Ukraine, target 16 of his corrupt cronies, including one who has helped Putin obtain oil-generated cash, and the heads of state-owned Russian Railways and a Gazprom subsidiary. Also sanctioned are Bank Rossiya, which Russia's corruptocracy uses to launder illicit money and conduct deals, and its largest shareholder, aka Putin's personal banker.
Laudable as they might be, these sanctions fall far short of matching the staggering scope of Russia's corruption. Forcing a course change by Putin & Co. requires inflicting far more financial pain — through far tougher, broader sanctions taken not just by America but by its allies, too.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.