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The Kremlin’s Mobster Code

Power in Russia is not nearly as centralized as many believe. While Western experts continue to view Russia as a modern state, it turns out that President Vladimir Putin is the boss of one crime family, but not all of them.

ATLANTA – Russia has a long history of rule by criminals. Channeling French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s famous dictum “property is theft,” the Bolsheviks emerged in the early twentieth century as a semi-criminal organization partly financed by the “expropriation of the expropriators” – in other words, armed robbery. Young Joseph Stalin allegedly participated in these “exes,” as the Bolsheviks called them.

The story of Alexander Orlov, one of Stalin’s spies, underscores the criminal tendencies of the Soviet regime. After presiding over the controversial – and some say illegal – transfer of the Spanish gold reserves from Madrid to Moscow in 1936, Orlov defected to the West once he became the operation’s lone survivor. Before leaving, he stole the entire operational fund of the Soviet station in Spain. Yet Stalin did not have him assassinated, as one might expect, because Orlov threatened to disclose the mission and the large network of Soviet spies.

Likewise, Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has so far suffered negligible consequences for his short-lived mutiny. His mercenaries have continued to receive state funds, and it is rumored that weapons and large sums of cash confiscated by the state were returned to Prigozhin. This may suggest that Prigozhin is one of President Vladimir Putin’s “wallets” or knows where Putin hides his money – or is blackmailing him.

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