Our commentary partners will help you reach your own conclusions on complex topics.
Would Russian oligarchs assassinate Putin? One might.
Hi everyone. Peter Zeihan here coming to you from an exciting hotel room near the Des Moines airport. On my way back on the war path here, going out to see some people and speak to groups. I wanted to take today as an opportunity to discuss what’s going on with Russia as regards a possible coup or secession.
There have been a lot of folks, especially in the European Union who are now actively publicly calling for the Russian oligarchs to overthrow the Putin government. And I thought it was worth picking that apart.
There are two groups of oligarchs. The first are the ones who got their assets by robbing the state blind in the 1990s, in the post-Soviet collapse. This group includes folks like Petr Aven, Mikhail Fridman of Alfa Bank.
This includes Mikhail Prokhorov of Norilsk Nickel, which is the world’s largest nickel, platinum, palladium, copper, deposit. It’s like 40% of the world’s palladium comes from there.
These folks have minimal influence over the Putin government. They can’t demand a meeting. They don’t have access to the guy. Whenever he calls they come running because they cut a deal with Putin back in 2000, right, when he became president. Putin said that you can keep your assets. As long as you pay your taxes, start paying your taxes and you never get involved in politics. And that deal has more or less stuck for the next 22 years.
So these folks do have a few assets outside of Russia, and these are largely what the governments of the west have been going around and confiscating and threatened to expropriate. And it’s not that I feel bad for these guys. I mean, they got their stuff by stealing the state blind, but they are not ones who have the influence that would be necessary to make a coup. They’re widely disliked, not just by Putin, but by the entire Russian population.
And if Putin wanted to get a few more points in popularity, executing a couple of these guys would probably do it for them, and they know it. So they are not the kind of group that you can really turn to for any sort of political change.
The second group of oligarchs are the ones who became rich because of Putin. Putin brought them in. Either they were former KGB members or folks from his inner circle, whatever it happened to be.
This includes folks like Sergey Chemezov, who is the world’s most sanctioned person. He’s in charge of the military industrial complex of Russia. And whenever you see equipment breaking down on the field, that’s his fault, cuz he is breathlessly corrupt.
And Alexei Miller of Russia’s Gazprom, which is the world’s largest natural gas concern.
These guys have access to Putin and some of them like Chemezov are actually in the inner circle, but they are blindly loyal.
Everything they have is because of their position next to Putin. And if he were to fall, they would probably fall too. There’s one exception. There’s a guy by the name of Igor Sechin, who’s in charge of Rosneft, which is the state oil company of Russia. He used to be a gun runner during the Cold War, and he’s got the guts, and he’s got the means, and he’s got the access.
If anyone in the inner circle or anyone of the elite is going to off Putin, it’s gonna be him. But if there’s one thing that the rest of the elite, whether in the inner circle or out agrees upon, it’s that Sechin is kind of a jackass and they would probably pool to their strengths to off him the next day after he got rid of Putin.
So I don’t see a palace coup being very likely or a coup from within the inner inner circle or the oligarchs in general.
This is just something that’s gonna have to go by the more old fashion method, which is wait for the state to collapse.
In Russia, the czars, the leaders, whoever they happen to be, they’re stable until they’re not. And right now the lights are still on. The trains are still running and the wheat is still coming in. So while there are a lot of Russians who are embarrassed or angry with certain aspects of the war, we are nowhere near the critical mass that is necessary to generate any sort of meaningful revolt. So far, less than one, 100th of 1% of the Russian population has participated in protests. And those are pretty much over already. So if the Russian government’s gonna change, it’s not gonna be via this vector, at least not now.
The Afya foundation, a F Y a foundation.org. They are in the process of equipping some medics to go Ukraine proper and help with the evacuation of civilians. If you can provide them with any assistance, that would be great. Just immediately under this video, there’s a link to their Amazon wishlist where you can pick specific equipment that you want to send with them.
All you have to do is click on something on the list, pick the number of things you want to buy, put it in your cart per normal, and it’ll go right to them. Okay. That’s it from me until next time.
Should we worry about Chinese land purchases in US?
Some U.S. lawmakers have expressed concerns about increasing ownership of American land by Chinese entities, often attributing it to the Chinese government’s attempt to control food supply and surveil U.S. infrastructure. China ranks 18th on the list of foreign landowners in the U.S., trailing Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, and the U.K. So how worried should…
Sweden finally within sight of joining NATO
Sweden has been trying to join NATO for almost two years now, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Turkey and Hungary had been stalling that process, preventing Sweden from joining the Western military alliance. But recent public signals of approval from both Turkey and Hungary suggest a positive shift, indicating that the…
Will Europe go nuclear if US quits NATO?
The NATO alliance secured almost a century of peace on the European continent, with the exception of smaller conflicts and minor wars, until Russia invaded Ukraine in Feb. 2022. This was one of the longest stretches of continuous peace in recorded European history. Yet American isolationist instincts are resurfacing, just as they did before World…
Nigeria in a post-American world
Nigeria has the largest population and the largest economy of any nation in Africa and is projected to become the fourth-largest country in the world by population before 2050. But Nigeria is also a country with plenty of troubles, from notorious political corruption to domestic terrorism and armed insurgency. Peering ahead into the post-American world,…
Don’t expect US tactical response to death of Putin critic Navalny
On Friday, Feb. 16, Russian prison authorities announced that Aleksei A. Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died in a remote Arctic prison. Navalny was imprisoned in January 2021 and serving a 19-year sentence. He was renowned as Putin’s most vocal domestic opponent, gaining prominence in 2011 when he declared the existence…
Underreported stories from each side
Public satisfaction with 12 of 29 aspects of US declines during Biden presidency: Gallup
6 sources | 0% from the left
US is imposing more than 500 new sanctions on Russia’s war machine, indicts Russian businessmen
214 sources | 17% from the right
EPA mulls EV transition delay amid pushback from lawmakers, automakers
SAG-AFTRA accuses CBS News of seizing files of fired journalist
Biden weighs border executive order as immigration approval rating hits 28%
Florida social media ban for kids under 16 awaits DeSantis' signature
Loopholes in some plastic bag bans increase plastic waste
In addition to the facts, we believe it’s vital to hear perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum.
We know it is important to hear from a diverse range of observers on the complex topics we face and believe our commentary partners will help you reach your own conclusions.
The commentaries published in this section are solely those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Straight Arrow News.
- What in the World
- America Speaks
In addition to the facts, we believe it’s vital to hear perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum. We hope these different voices will help you reach your own conclusions.
The opinions published in this section are solely those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Straight Arrow News.
Other AEI Contributors