Vladimir Putin 'afraid of losing power': Russians are 'hungry and poor' so he 'started a war': financier
There has been a ton of speculation about Russian President Vladimir Putin's state of mind ever since he launched the horrific invasion of Ukraine. In his new book "Freezing Order," the financier Bill Browder offers this stark assessment of Putin, based on his years of doing business in Russia.
Despite what commentators think, Browder told The Daily Beast, Putin "is definitely not crazy."
“My analysis is that he’s acting very rationally based on his own depraved values. He’s been a dictator for 22 years and has stolen hundreds of billions from the Russian state. After a while, that loss creates hardship across the country and there is a very real probability of the people rising up and overthrowing him because they’re hungry and poor,” said Browder. “Putin understands this and saw the writing on the wall for himself. He couldn’t just sit there and wait to be overthrown, so he did what most dictators do when they’re afraid of losing power: He started a war.”
Browder has been a target for retribution by Putin for years, ever since he discovered that many of the companies he had invested in were being robbed by oligarchs and corrupt officials. The Daily Beast writes, "Unwilling to let this fraud go unchallenged, Browder ... decided to fight back. He hired a local lawyer named Sergei Magnitsky, who helped Browder uncover a multi-million dollar tax fraud involving Russian officials that went all the way up to President Vladimir Putin. Angered by the revelations, the Kremlin accused Magnitsky of fraud himself. He was detained and ultimately murdered in prison in 2009."
Browder, who now is a British citizen, maintains a hefty security detail and is extremely cautious about who lets in his inner circle. "I don't drink tea with Russian strangers," he said - a reference to the 2006 poisoning murder of Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko, who drank tea laced with polonium-210 in a London hotel.
"Freezing Order" details the monumental state of illegal Russian government activity, noting how bankers and lawyers in the West enable Russian crimes by laundering money and setting up offshore accounts. He also unequivocally states "the seemingly never-ending corruption of the Russian government which has only gotten worse under Putin.
“During Soviet times there was a famous expression, ‘If you weren’t stealing from the state you were stealing from your family,’” Browder told The Daily Beast. “That culture of corruption was so built-in that everybody assumes that if you have power it would be irrational not to use it to steal everything you could."
- Former US ambassador to Russia fears that 'man of empire' Putin ... ›
- George Will explains Vladimir Putin's Bismarck-like mentality as ... ›
- Vladimir Putin doesn't realize how 'badly' the Ukraine war is going ... ›