Exiled Russian billionaires profited from the Yeltsin era and are living the “Western Dream” in luxury in London and New York.

At the Time Warner Center, an Enclave of Powerful Russians | New York Times – Feb. 11, 2015 |

In March 2009, a bookish-looking Russian senator stepped to the podium at the Brookings Institution in Washington. The occasion was the inauguration of a new think tank devoted to United States-Russia cooperation on financial and energy security, and the speaker, Andrey Vavilov, had donated money.

Mr. Vavilov was introduced as a brave individual who had toiled for years under adverse circumstances in Russia, a onetime deputy finance minister and former proprietor of an oil company. His talk, delivered in Russian, focused on the intricacies of the energy markets.

Behind the trappings of Brookings and his professorial demeanor, though, were some more ambiguous elements of Mr. Vavilov’s career.

At the Finance Ministry during the presidency of Boris N. Yeltsin, he helped develop a market-based economy that would ultimately mint vast riches for insiders. He also wielded enormous power over state revenue and expenditures, including decisions over which banks would garner coveted government deposits. A parliamentary anticorruption committee later investigated allegations against him of favoritism and abuse of power — charges that he denied but that would shadow him for a decade.

Continued below the fold …

He had become extraordinarily wealthy during the early years of Vladimir V. Putin’s presidency, when the oil company he had acquired for $25 million was taken over in 2003 by a state-controlled enterprise for $600 million. It was widely alleged that the purchase price was excessive, and that money was funneled to politicians in the form of kickbacks.

Six years later, as Mr. Vavilov helped inaugurate one new venture in Washington, his personal fortune was bringing another piece of business to fruition in New York. A shell company tied to Mr. Vavilov was poised to buy a penthouse at the Time Warner Center for $37.5 million.

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Mr. Vavilov’s purchase — all 8,275 square feet of it, with his-and-her master bathrooms and 360-degree city views — is an opulent example of how the flight of wealth accrued in the chaotic capitalism of post-Soviet Russia has been a powerful force behind the luxury condominium boom reordering New York City’s skyline. (Read a summary of this article in Russian)

In the decade and a half since Mr. Putin came to power, Russians have socked away hundreds of billions of dollars overseas. Even as the Kremlin was promoting what it called a “deoffshorization” campaign to repatriate Russian capital, an estimated $150 billion left the country last year. Unless Mr. Putin can effectively lock the door, that flow may intensify if Russia’s economy and currency continue to founder.

For many wealthy Russians, a New York condo serves as a double parachute — a safe-deposit box of sorts, and a soft landing spot should the climate back home turn inhospitable or dangerous — even if that apartment sits dark and vacant for most of the year. In the process, the Russians, while not quite as ubiquitous as they are in, say, some of the tonier districts of London, have become the face of a sharpening debate about the impact of New York’s pied-à-terre economy.

In an interview with New York magazine in September 2013, the departing mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, described the wealthy foreigners as “a godsend” whose spending bolsters the city’s economy and provides revenue to take care of poorer New Yorkers. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get all the Russian billionaires to move here?” the mayor said.

Russian ‘Gun-For-Hire’ At Trump Jr. Meeting Once Ran Smear Campaign Alleging Anti-Semitism | The Forward |

The former Soviet intelligence officer who was at the bombshell meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower last June allegedly helped organized a campaign against a fellow Russian seeking political asylum in the United States — by calling him anti-Semitic.

Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-born political lobbyist now living in Washington D.C., was accused of mounting a smear campaign against former Russian politician Ashot Egiazaryan, who at the time was seeking political asylum in the United States, according to Radio Free Europe.

A lawsuit filed in a Manhattan federal court charged that the campaign sought to derail Egiazaryan’s asylum request and force him back return to Russia, by alleging that he was an anti-Semite. Lawyers allege Akhmetshin was enlisted to help publish at least one article in the Jewish Journal accusing the deputy of anti-Semitism.

    None of those conditions appears to apply to Egiazaryan. Since 1999, he has been a prominent financial backer and member of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), headed by his friend Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

    Zhirinovsky, who is infamous for his outspoken anti-American and anti-Semitic attacks, faces no such risk of persecution for his reprehensible views. In fact, he remains the vice chair of the Duma and continues to speak out freely on any and all subjects — often repugnant — without threat of retribution by the state.

    Under U.S. law, escaping prosecution for a felony or convictions and arrests for serious crimes would likely render an application statutorily ineligible for asylum.

    Jewish groups in American and Russia have repeatedly condemned the LDPR and its leader as anti-Semitic and have urged Americans, as a form of protest, to avoid any meetings with members of Zhirinovsky’s party who may visit the United States.

    [Source: Jewish Journal – Hiding in Beverly Hills]

Akhmetshin has been described as a shrewd lobbyist who has mounted numerous under-the-radar political campaigns.

“I know of no Russian gun-for-hire who managed to run his campaigns so successfully, running circles around purportedly much more seasoned Washington hands,” Steve LeVine, a Washington reporter who has written about Akhmetshin’s work, told Radio Free Europe.

Email Sam Kestenbaum at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum

Yeah! Putin has Trump in his pocket. Russia has big, big leverage on candidate Donald Trump from his commercial ties to Russians from 2008 forward.

So the Marco Rubio dirt seekers of Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS hires a former MI6 Moscow spy nest called Orbis Business Intelligence with master spy Chris Steele to build an “opposition dossier” on the Trump campaign team. Glenn Simpson as SNS executive helped Paul Singer gain influence within the U.S. Treasury to put pressure on the Argentinian government to restore a billion plus settlement on Wall Street hedge fund. Comey of the F.B.I. used this leaked “Dodgy Dossier” to get a FISA warrant to wire tap Carter Page close to the Trump campaign team. Comey has always declared the F.B.I. had no investigation on presidential candidate Donald Trump.

On Russian spy activities, the CIA, FBI and MI6 had a close cooperation as was seen in the Evgeny Buryakov spy case where Carter Page was a willing witness for the FBI Counterintelligence agency.

Beyond pale how the IC has a hold on the American press corps to dictate the narrative, or if you will to spin the story for the reporters to publish i their respective high quality papers of the Washington Post, New York Times and the TV networks including CNN Cable News.

An ex-CIA officer: the Trump Jr. meeting shows how the Russians exploit intelligence targets

“This is how it’s done.” –Glenn Carle

So what the hell is going on? If the Russians were indeed working with the Trump campaign to influence the election, why do it so brazenly? Why send a former Soviet intelligence officer into a meeting at Trump Tower?

I reached out by phone to Glenn Carle, a 23-year veteran of the CIA and former deputy officer on the National Intelligence Council. I asked him to walk me through the week’s revelations and to explain Russia’s actions from the perspective of an intelligence officer.

He told me that the meeting with Trump Jr., while unusually brazen, fits a broader pattern of Russian intelligence attempting to engage with the Trump family over the years. “This is how it’s done,” he said.

Overstating Our Fears By Glenn Carle | July 13, 2008 | Washington Post |  

Sen. John McCain has repeatedly characterized the threat of “radical Islamic extremism” as “the absolute gravest threat . . . that we’re in against.” Before we simply accept this, we need to examine the nature of the terrorist threat facing our country. If we do so, we will see how we have allowed the specter of that threat to distort our lives and take our treasure.

The “Global War on Terror” has conjured the image of terrorists behind every bush, the bushes themselves burning and an angry god inciting its faithful to religious war. We have been called to arms, built fences, and compromised our laws and the practices that define us as a nation. The administration has focused on pursuing terrorists and countering an imminent and terrifying threat. Thousands of Americans have died as a result, as have tens of thousands of foreigners.

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The inclination to trust our leaders when they warn of danger is compelling, particularly when the specters of mushroom clouds and jihadists haunt every debate. McCain, accepting this view of the threats, pledges to continue the Bush administration’s policy of few distinctions but ruthless actions.

McCarthyism is based on FEAR of the Red Menace – Cold War ensued

The intense rivalry between the two superpowers raised concerns in the United States that Communists and leftist sympathizers inside America might actively work as Soviet spies and pose a threat to U.S. security.

    FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was quick to equate any kind of protest with communist subversion, including the civil rights demonstrations led by Martin Luther King Jr.

Another congressional investigator, U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (1908-57) of Wisconsin, became the person most closely associated with the anticommunist crusade-and with its excesses. McCarthy used hearsay and intimidation to establish himself as a powerful and feared figure in American politics. He leveled charges of disloyalty at celebrities, intellectuals and anyone who disagreed with his political views, costing many of his victims their reputations and jobs. McCarthy’s reign of terror continued until his colleagues formally denounced his tactics in 1954.

An ardent anticommunist, Hoover had been a key player in an earlier, though less pervasive, Red Scare in the years following World War I (1914-18). With the dawning of the new anticommunist crusade in the late 1940s, Hoover’s agency compiled extensive files on suspected subversives through the use of wiretaps, surveillance and the infiltration of leftist groups.


As the Red Scare intensified, its political climate turned increasingly conservative. Elected officials from both major parties sought to portray themselves as staunch anticommunists, and few people dared to criticize the questionable tactics used to persecute suspected radicals.


J Michael Waller @JMichaelWaller
Founding editorial board member, NATO’s ‘Defence Strategic Communications’ journal. Center for Security Policy. #MAGA.

Professor J. Michael Waller has been a scholar-practitioner in public diplomacy, political warfare [cached], psychological operations and information operations in support of US foreign and military policy for more than 25 years. He was a member of the staff of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, served on the White House Task Force on Central America, was an operative for members of the White House Active Measures Working Group, and has been a consultant to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the US Information Agency, the US Agency for International Development, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the US Army, and the US Special Operations Command.

In 2006 he received a citation from the Director of the FBI for “exceptional service in the public interest.” He has designed and conducted specialized training courses for the US military and civilian agencies.Prof. Waller can think like an insurgent, having received military training as an insurgent with the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Resistance in the 1980s. He successfully trained scores of U.S.-backed insurgent commanders (Nicaraguan) in political warfare and psychological operations and aided their demobilization and transition into a democratic society. He worked with Afghan resistance fighters against Soviet Army.

He also successfully trained U.S.-backed foreign military counterinsurgency forces to defeat guerrillas and terrorists through non-kinetic means; and designed and implemented ideological warfare operations to infiltrate and disrupt adversary political front organizations and hostile foreign security and intelligence services.Currently he is the director of the only graduate studies program in the United States on the integration of public diplomacy and political warfare as low-cost/high-impact solutions to leverage, avoid or prevent lethal kinetic force. He is also the Founder and President of Strategic Information Services, LLC, an education, training, publishing and information strategy company. Prof. Waller holds the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair in International Communication at the Institute on World Politics, and directs the Institute’s graduate programs on public diplomacy and political warfare.

To Inform Is To Influence

Author: Joel Harding

I am a practitioner in Information Warfare and Information Operations. I research, write and teach about inform and influence operations, cyberwar, strategic communication, public diplomacy, and all related and supporting fields. When I’m not reading and writing I’m on my motorcycle, a big Honda Goldwing!

NATO Hits Russian Raw Nerve With “Forest Brothers”

Sputnik just published an article titled “NATO Charging New Propaganda Cannons’: What’s Behind `Forest Brothers’ Video?

As soon as I read the following two paragraphs, I knew somebody in Russia was so angry they were spewing and spitting – generally enraged beyond belief.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry severely criticized a video about Nazi collaborators, the so-called Forest Brothers, published by NATO on Twitter. In an interview with Sputnik, political expert Igor Nikolaychuk explained the reasons behind the alliance’s decision to rake up this forgotten subject.

According to Nikolaychuk, NATO has created a new propaganda weapon based on rhetoric that is no longer relevant even in the Baltic countries.


Every dismissive term meant that the video and the topic was relevant, the subject was not forgotten, and it still burned in the Russian psyche.  Burned, just like how a few Finns kicked their butts, too.

NATO made a propaganda coup.

I had to find out more. So…  I went in search of.

Sputnik was so kind as to publish the `offending’ tweet.

Mr. Joel Harding – Cybersecurity Consultant

J’Accuse Rupert Murdoch On Stalinism and Sheeple – His WSJ
Tackling propaganda: “It’s a continuation of methods used during the Cold War” | EU Observer | my diary on PropOrNot right-wing conspiracy
Lunacy of US Politics and International Law

So guys, I’m just about the lone blogger left in the International list after participating 12.5 years @Booman Tribune. It used to be quite different!

I have the advantage of seeing the daily improvements of European society, getting well established in the 21th Century with all of its modern day challenges. I follow the press and media across a dozen countries, follow panel disussions and witness first hand the events in Europe. I do watch especially the Middle East, Gulf nations and South Asia.

In my perception, I haven’t changed in my ideals and position to be a liberal, progressive force. After 9/11 I have seen disturbing developments in a surrounding world. Instead of growing towards global awareness and unity, a separation has and is taking place made worse by conservative politics in America, Europe and the Middle East.

Because I love you guys, I will keep blogging!

A Normal Country: Russia After Communism by Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman - a Harvard publication  
Clinton’s good friendship act of 90s

A good read, the Yeltsin – Putin transition:

The Russian Roller Coaster | WPJ Winter 2003/04 | by Ian Bremmer

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