6. Follow the Money
To understand Russia’s journey from Communism to kleptocracy in a generation, the best approach is to follow the money. At the heart of the story is something called ‘Reiderstvo’. This is defined as the illicit acquisition of a business or part of a business in Russia. It’s similar to asset grabbing but whilst in 1990s Russia criminal gangs would use violence to steal what they could and bribe some officials to leave them alone, in modern day Russia it’s no longer criminal gangs stealing money and businesses, it is the Russian state using the state apparatus, including the law, to steal. In this episode we explore the consequences of reiderstvo. It damages the growth of the Russian economy and discourages foreign investors from putting money into the country. So whilst the president of the largest country in the world makes his billions, the population of Russia, some one hundred and forty-four million people, live in abject poverty. This episode attempts to discover what it is that Putin really wants: money, power or both? We hear from Louise Shelley, Anders Alsund, and Mark Galeotti in order to find out where the money trail may lead.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.